Being an astronaut renowned with space missions in the Discovery and the International Space Station has not served the Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque (Madrid, 57 years old) to lead the A gency European Space (ESA, its acronym in English), a position for which he announced his candidacy last July.
The Spanish minister has not managed to gather the necessary support against the Austrian Josef Aschbacher, current head of ESA’s ground observation programs, who has taken advantage of the minister.
The name of the Austrian candidate, engineer by profession and doctor of natural sciences,It has been circulating for days among the specialized press of the sector and has even reached social networks, although the Agency maintains that the process is still open.
“The ESA will not reveal any details until the process is closed,” said sources from this body. Although the final decision will be known tomorrow, at the end of November the evaluation committee decided to “nominate” Aschbacher, which already indicated the preferences of this intergovernmental organization dedicated to the research and development of space programs.
The representatives of the 22 countries that make up it will be in charge of voting tomorrow for the new general director who will replace the German Jan Wörner, in office since 2015 and whose mandate ends in June next year. However, the current head of the Norwegian space agency already congratulated the Austrian yesterday on Twitter.
With this blow to Duque and Spain, the third international defeat of the Government in this type of candidacy is certified . Before that, there was already the defeat of the Minister of Economy Nadia Calviño to preside over the Eurogroup, and Arancha González Laya resigned to opt for the position in the World Trade Organization.
In his Twitter account, the president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, said that given the information that points to Aschbacher as the next director of the Agency, “Spain continues to lose international weight with the Government of Sánchez.”