The European Space Agency wants to be able to launch its own astronauts

The European Space Agency (ESA) is pushing for its members to back a program to allow it to independently send astronauts to space and set ambitious, long-term human exploration goals.

While Europeans have been flying to space since the 1970s, only three countries — the Soviet Union (now Russia), the United States and China — have so far been able to independently launch astronauts into space.