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6th Framework Programme (2000-2006): Aeronautics and space


This specific programme ails to boost the potential of European research on aeronautics and space in order to improve safety, provide greater protection for the environment and make the industry more competitive.


Council Decision 2002/834/EC of 30 September 2002 adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration: "Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area" (2002-2006) [Official Journal L 294 of 29.10.2002].


Space is no longer the exclusive preserve of the experts. Space technologies are now omnipresent in every sphere of economic, social and cultural life. What is more, aerospace is a strategic industry in terms of technology, the economy, defence and jobs.

Today Europe can count on groups such as EADS, Airbus, BAE Systems and Arianespace, bringing together partners from all over the European Union (EU) to consolidate their position as world leader with projects such as Airbus A380, the Ariane 5 space launcher, GMES (global monitoring for environment and security) and the Galileo satellite navigation network.

At the same time, air is the form of transport which has achieved the most spectacular growth over the last few decades. However, this growth is leading to congestion at airports and saturation of the air traffic control systems.

The 6th Framework Programme has allocated a budget of EUR 1075 million to this priority concentrating on action in two broad fields:


Safety, affordability and sustainability are the three priorities for aeronautics in Europe. The report "European aeronautics: A vision for 2020" sets out the five guiding principles:

  • achieve a five-fold reduction in accident rates;
  • halve the noise emitted by aircraft;
  • halve carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per passenger-kilometre;
  • reduce NOx emissions by 80%;
  • devise an air traffic control system capable of managing 16 million flights a year, with airports operational 24 hours a day, and offering passengers greater comfort.

In line with these recommendations, the research will focus on four broad lines of action:

  • Strengthening competitiveness: the objective is to enable the three sectors of the aeronautics industry (airframe, engines and equipment) to increase their competitiveness, by reducing aircraft development costs and direct operating costs by 20% and 50% in the short and long term respectively and improving passenger comfort.
    The research activities are focusing on intelligent production systems, new aircraft configurations, aerodynamics, engine technologies, improved cabin conditions, utilisation of multimedia services, etc.
  • Reducing the environmental impact in terms of emissions and noise: in the case of emissions the objective is to meet the goals set by the Kyoto Protocol. The targets are to reduce emissions of CO2 by 50% in the long term and of NOx by 60% and 80% in the short and long term respectively. As for noise, to limit noise outside the airport boundary, the target is to reduce noise levels by 4-5 decibels (dB) in the short term and 10 dB in the long term.
    The research activities are focusing on engine technologies allowing low-emission combustion, advanced noise-control systems, high-temperature materials, etc.
  • Improving aircraft safety: the objective is to halve accident rates in the short term and to obtain a five-fold reduction in the long term in order to compensate for the growth in air traffic movements.
    The research activities are focusing on studies on safety models, advanced safety systems, etc.
  • Increasing operational capacity and safety of the air transport system: the objective is to optimise airspace and airport utilisation in order to reduce flight delays, through an integrated air traffic management system (Single European Sky).
    The research activities are focusing on on-board and ground communication, navigation and surveillance systems and the introduction of new concepts, including the free-flight concept, in the future European ATM (air traffic management) system.


Conquering space is a key component in the technological world of today. Satellite applications are now in daily use as tools in a wide range of sectors, from agriculture and fisheries to transport, telecommunications, environmental protection, public security and so on.

In cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) the EU has devised a truly joint strategy in response to the growing importance of space applications to all economic, social and cultural activity in the modern world. The objective is to map out the broad lines of a European space policy, with the support of every Member State.

Three lines of action are planned:

  • The European satellite navigation system - Galileo: satellite radio navigation enables anyone with a transmitter/receiver to pick up signals transmitted by several satellites and determine, to a high degree of accuracy from one moment to the next, their own position in terms of longitude, latitude and altitude.

The research will focus on the development of receivers and of multisectoral tools, user equipment, etc.

  • GMES: the GMES programme was set up to secure independent, permanent access in Europe to the flood of information from space. The objective is to prevent and to help manage natural or industrial disasters and to meet the undertakings given on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The research activities are focusing on sensors and on developing prototypes of services responding to specific types of demand, for example on the global environment, land-use, desertification, disaster management, etc.

  • Satellite telecommunications: the objective is to integrate the space and terrestrial segments in communications systems.


of entry into force
Deadline for transposition in the Member States
Decision 1513/2002/ECDate of application: 01.01.2003
Date of expiry: 31.12.2006


Green Paper: European space policy [COM (2003) 17 final -Not published in the Official Journal].

Space has long been a source of progress and technological and commercial success for Europe. Space systems already play a notable role in numerous facets of the daily life of Europeans: satellite communications, earth observation, forecasting natural disasters, etc.

In this context, the Green Paper drafted by the European Commission and the ESA examines Europe's strengths and weaknesses in the space industry. The report addresses the fundamental issues such as independent access to space for the EU, scientific excellence, the industrial and technological base, the markets concerned, human resources, the regulatory and institutional framework, international cooperation, and the environmental and security aspects.

The consultations will run from 22 January to 30 May 2003.

Last updated: 04.01.2007
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