LONDON—The 13-nation European Space Agency is expected to endorse a series of projects later this month that could boost the agency’s annual budget from $1.7 billion to $3 billion by 1993. The new efforts include a more powerful version of its Ariane satellite launcher, a manned Hermes spacecraft and the Columbus orbitbig laboratory that would be part of the U.S. space station. Hermes, which zoom into orbit atop the improved Ariane rocket, would give Western Europe its first opportunity to launch astronauts. The three projects, expected to cost a total of $13 billion by the end of the century, would be a boon to the continent’s 30,000 space scientists, engineers and other technical workers. The effort would also enlist the 1,600 employees working at ESA headquarters in Paris or at one of three technical centers.

The new plan will keep Europe’s space industry competitive over the next few decades, said...

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