The European Space Agency says it is allowing some member-states that are struggling with heavy debts and big deficits to pay their contributions more slowly.
Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain would not name the countries that asked for "payment plans" but he said they were all small and their contributions account tens of millions of euros. The agency's total budget for 2012 is euro4.02 billion ($5.12 billion).
Dordain said Monday that the slow payments are not posing a problem for the agency.
Three member-states _ Greece, Ireland and Portugal _ are struggling to get their finances in order after the debt crisis forced them to seek rescue loans. But countries across Europe are slashing spending in order to reassure investors that they'll pay back their debts.
(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. Corrects that the amount concerned is tens of millions of euros.)