European Space Agency

European Space Agency

Overview
The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental
Intergovernmentalism
-A theory of regional integration:The theory is not applied on European integration which rejects the idea of neofunctionalism. The theory, initially proposed by Stanley Hoffmann suggests that national governments control the level and speed of European integration. Any increase in power at...

 organisation dedicated to the exploration of space
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, currently with 18 member states. Headquartered in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000 with an annual budget of about €3.99 billion / $5.65 billion US dollars (2011).

ESA's space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport
Spaceport
A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or airport for aircraft. The word spaceport, and even more so cosmodrome, has traditionally been used for sites capable of launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth or on interplanetary trajectories...

, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou
Kourou
Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America.Kourou is the location of the Guiana Space Centre, France and ESA's main spaceport.-Geography:...

, French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

, and designing launch vehicles.
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Encyclopedia
The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental
Intergovernmentalism
-A theory of regional integration:The theory is not applied on European integration which rejects the idea of neofunctionalism. The theory, initially proposed by Stanley Hoffmann suggests that national governments control the level and speed of European integration. Any increase in power at...

 organisation dedicated to the exploration of space
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, currently with 18 member states. Headquartered in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000 with an annual budget of about €3.99 billion / $5.65 billion US dollars (2011).

ESA's space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport
Spaceport
A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or airport for aircraft. The word spaceport, and even more so cosmodrome, has traditionally been used for sites capable of launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth or on interplanetary trajectories...

, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou
Kourou
Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America.Kourou is the location of the Guiana Space Centre, France and ESA's main spaceport.-Geography:...

, French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

, and designing launch vehicles. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

 is operated through Arianespace
Arianespace
Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company. It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane 5 rocket launcher as part of the Ariane programme....

 with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle.

ESA science missions are based at ESTEC
European Space Research and Technology Centre
The European Space Research and Technology Centre is the European Space Agency's main technology development and test centre for spacecraft and space technology. It is situated in Noordwijk, South Holland, in the western Netherlands....

 in Noordwijk
Noordwijk
Noordwijk is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 51.53 km² and had a population of 24,707 in May 2006....

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati
Frascati
Frascati is a town and comune in the province of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy. It is located south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills close to the ancient city of Tusculum. Frascati is closely associated with science, being the location of several international scientific...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, ESA Mission Control (ESOC
European Space Operations Centre
The European Space Operations Centre is responsible for controlling ESA satellites and space probes. The centre is located in Darmstadt, Germany. It is Mission Control for most of the space projects of the ESA. Since its creation in 1967, the centre has operated 60 European space missions...

) is in Darmstadt
Darmstadt
Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the European Astronaut Centre
European Astronaut Centre
The European Astronaut Centre is a centre of the European Space Agency and home of the European Astronaut Corps. It is located in Cologne, Germany, and is sub-divided in to four separate arms, these being Training, Medicine, Education and PR, and Astronaut Management...

 (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada
Villanueva de la Cañada
Villanueva de la Cañada is a municipality in Spain, located 30 km west of the city of Madrid.Population : 14 809.-General references:*- External links :...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

.

Foundation



After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many European scientists left Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 in order to work in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space related activities, Western European scientists realised solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock
Sputnik crisis
The Sputnik crisis is the name for the American reaction to the success of the Sputnik program. It was a key event during the Cold War that began on October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite....

, Edoardo Amaldi
Edoardo Amaldi
Edoardo Amaldi was an Italian physicist.He was born in Carpaneto Piacentino, son of Ugo Amaldi, professor of mathematics at the University of Padua, and Luisa Basini....

 and Pierre Auger, two prominent members of the western European scientific community at that time, met to discuss the foundation of a common western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey
Harrie Massey
Sir Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey FRS was an influential Australian mathematical physicist. He worked primarily in the fields of atomic and atmospheric physics.- Life and career :...

 (UK).

The Western European nations decided to have two different agencies, one concerned with developing a launch system ELDO (European Launch Development Organization) and the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO
ESRO
The European Space Research Organization was an international organisation founded by 10 European nations with the intention of jointly pursuing scientific research in space. It was founded in 1964...

 (European Space Research Organization). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO carried out numerous successful projects. Seven research satellites were brought into orbit, all by US launch systems. Ariane did not exist at that time.

ESA in its current form was founded in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had 10 founding members: Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B
Cos-B
Cos-B was the first European Space Research Organisation mission to study gamma-ray sources. COS-B was first put forward by the European scientific community in the mid 1960s and approved by the ESRO council in 1969. The mission consisted of a satellite containing gamma-ray detectors, which was...

, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe first worked on by ESRO.

End of space race


Beginning in the 1970s, when the space race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 between the US and the Soviet Union had cooled down and space budgets were cut dramatically in both countries, ESA established itself as a forerunner in space exploration. ESA joined NASA in the IUE
International Ultraviolet Explorer
The International Ultraviolet Explorer was an astronomical observatory satellite primarily designed to take ultraviolet spectra. The satellite was a collaborative project between NASA, the UK Science Research Council and the European Space Agency...

, the world's first high-orbit telescope
Telescope
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

, which was launched in 1978 and operated very successfully for 18 years. A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto
Giotto mission
Giotto was a European robotic spacecraft mission from the European Space Agency, intended to fly by and study Halley's Comet. On 13 March 1986, the mission succeeded in approaching Halley's nucleus at a distance of 596 kilometers....

, its first deep-space mission, to study the Comets Halley
Comet Halley
Halley's Comet or Comet Halley is the best-known of the short-period comets, and is visible from Earth every 75 to 76 years. Halley is the only short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and thus the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime...

 and Grigg-Skjellerup
26P/Grigg-Skjellerup
Comet Grigg–Skjellerup is a periodic comet.Discovered in 1902 by John Grigg of New Zealand, and rediscovered in its next appearance in 1922 by John Francis Skjellerup, an Australian then living and working for about two decades in South Africa where he was a founder member of the Astronomical...

. Hipparcos
Hipparcos
Hipparcos was a scientific mission of the European Space Agency , launched in 1989 and operated between 1989 and 1993. It was the first space experiment devoted to precision astrometry, the accurate measurement of the positions of celestial objects on the sky...

, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is a spacecraft built by a European industrial consortium led by Matra Marconi Space that was launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS launch vehicle on December 2, 1995 to study the Sun, and has discovered over 2100 comets. It began normal operations in May...

, Ulysses
Ulysses probe
Ulysses is a decommissioned robotic space probe that was designed to study the Sun as a joint venture of NASA and the European Space Agency . The spacecraft was originally named Odysseus, because of its lengthy and indirect trajectory to near Solar distance...

 and the Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4 meter aperture telescope in low Earth orbit, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared...

 were all jointly carried out with NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

. Recent scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan
Titan (moon)
Titan , or Saturn VI, is the largest moon of Saturn, the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object other than Earth for which clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found....

 landing module Huygens
Huygens probe
The Huygens probe was an atmospheric entry probe carried to Saturn's moon Titan as part of the Cassini–Huygens mission. The probe was supplied by the European Space Agency and named after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens....

.

As the successor of ELDO
European Launcher Development Organisation
The European Launcher Development Organisation was a multinational consortium formed in the 1960s to build an indigenous European space launch vehicle, Europa....

, ESA has also constructed rockets for unmanned scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1
Ariane 1
Ariane 1 is the first version of the Ariane launcher family. Ariane 1 was designed primarily to put two telecommunications satellites at a time into orbit, thus reducing costs. As the size of the satellites grew Ariane 1 gave way to the more powerful Ariane 2 and Ariane 3 launchers.- Vehicle...

, launched in 1979, brought mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two developments of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4
Ariane 4
Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it...

, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 56 successful launches as of September 2011. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

, the Ariane 6 is already in the definition stage and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, JAXA, ISRO and Roscosmos, one of the major participants in scientific space research
Space science
The term space science may mean:* The study of issues specifically related to space travel and space exploration, including space medicine.* Science performed in outer space ....

. While ESA had relied on cooperation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on cooperation with Russia. A recent press issue thus stated:
Most notable for its new self-confidence are ESA's own recent successful missions SMART-1
SMART-1
SMART-1 was a Swedish-designed European Space Agency satellite that orbited around the Moon. It was launched on September 27, 2003 at 23:14 UTC from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. "SMART" stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology...

, a probe testing cutting-edge new space propulsion technology, the Mars Express
Mars Express
Mars Express is a space exploration mission being conducted by the European Space Agency . The Mars Express mission is exploring the planet Mars, and is the first planetary mission attempted by the agency. "Express" originally referred to the speed and efficiency with which the spacecraft was...

 and Venus Express
Venus Express
Venus Express is the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency. Launched in November 2005, it arrived at Venus in April 2006 and has been continuously sending back science data from its polar orbit around Venus. Equipped with seven science instruments, the main objective of the...

 missions as well as the development of the Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

 rocket and its role in the ISS
ISS
The ISS is the International Space Station.ISS may also refer to:* I See Stars, an American electronic rock band* ISS A/S, a Danish service company* Idea Star Singer, a Malayalam music reality show by Asianet TV...

 partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot
Corot (space mission)
COROT is a space mission led by the French Space Agency in conjunction with the European Space Agency and other international partners...

, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for extrasolar planets.

Mission statement


Since the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 ended with the fall of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's "iron curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

", space agencies around the world had to refocus and revise their visions and goals. In an interview with JAXA, the Japanese national space agency, Jean-Jacques Dordain
Jean-Jacques Dordain
Jean-Jacques Dordain is the current Director General of the European Space Agency and has held the position since 2003....

 ESA's Director General (since 2003) outlined briefly the European Space Agency's mission:
Article II, Purpose, Convention of establishment of a European Space Agency, SP-1271(E) from 2003 also defines ESA's mission statement:

Membership and contribution to ESA


ESA is an intergovernmental organisation of 18 member states (to become 19 once Romania becomes a member in mid-2011). Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion the 2009 budget to €3.6 billion. The total budget in 2010 amounted to about €3.7 billion and in 2011 it is €3,99 billion.

The following table gives an overview of all member states and adjunct members and their contributions to ESA in 2011:
Member state ESA membership National Program Contr.
(mill. €)
Contr.
(%)
CNES
CNES
The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

 
%
DLR
German Aerospace Center
The German Aerospace Center is the national centre for aerospace, energy and transportation research of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has multiple locations throughout Germany. Its headquarters are located in Cologne. It is engaged in a wide range of research and development projects in...

 
%
ASI
Italian Space Agency
The Italian Space Agency is a government agency established in 1988 to fund, regulate and coordinate space exploration activities in Italy...

 
%
UKSA
UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency is a United Kingdom government agency responsible for its civil space programme. It was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre and took over responsibility for government policy and key budgets for space and represents the UK in all negotiations...

 
%
CDTI  %
BELSPO
Belgian Federal Science Policy Office
The Belgian Federal Science Policy Office or BELSPO is a Belgian government institution responsible for coordinating science policy at a federal level. It designs and implements research programmes and networks and manages the participation of Belgium in European and international organisations...

 
%
NSO
Netherlands Space Office
The Netherlands Space Office is a space-exploration governmental agency of the Netherlands.-Creation:Three Dutch government ministries—the Ministry of Economic Affairs; the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management—along with the...

 
%
SSO
Swiss Space Office
Swiss Space Office is the national space program of the Switzerland. It was roughly the 16th highest funded public space agency with a budget of about 110 million USD in the early 2000s. According to Jane's, the SSO is "the administrative unit charged with planning and implementing Swiss space...

 
%
SNSB
Swedish National Space Board
The Swedish National Space Board is a Swedish government agency operating under the Swedish Ministry of Education and Science. SNSB distributes government grants to research and development, initiates research and development in space and remote sensing, and is the Swedish contact in international...

 
%
DTU Space  %
EI
Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the Irish leading state economic development agency focused on helping Irish-owned business deliver new export sales. The core mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of Irish enterprises capable of achieving strong positions in global markets resulting...

 
%
NSC
Norwegian Space Centre
The Norwegian Space Centre is a Norwegian government agency that promotes space exploration.-Norsk Romsenter :...

 
%
FFG
Austrian Research Promotion Agency
The Austrian Research Promotion Agency is "the central Austrian organisation for promotion of research and innovation". It was a result of consolidating the Industrial Research Promotion Fund, the Austrian Space Agency, the Bureau for International Research and Technology Cooperation, and the...

 
%
TEKES
National Technology Agency
The National Technology Agency is an organization for research and technology development in the Republic of Finland. It was formed on 1 July 1983...

 
%
FCT
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
The Foundation for Science and Technology , FCT, is an organization within the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior in Portugal which funds scientific research activities, in particular in the areas of natural sciences, exact sciences, social sciences and humanities....

 
%
ISARS
Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing
The Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing is a research institute in Greece with expertise in multidisciplinary space and environmental sciences, and one of the five research Institutes of the National Observatory of Athens...

 
%
Luxinnovation
Luxinnovation
Luxinnovation is the National Agency for Innovation and Research of Luxembourg. It offers a wide variety of services to Luxembourg-based bodies from both the private and the public sector as well as individuals...

 
%
CSO
Czech Space Office
The Czech Space Office, CSO is the central contact point for the coordination of pure space sciece related activities in the Czech Republic. It fulfils tasks of the national information and advisory centre for the academia on opportunities to enter the international space scene and on space...

 
%
Associate Members
CSA  %
Total Members and Associates ' %
Framework Agreement establishing the legal basis for cooperation between ESA and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 came into force in May 2004.
ESP
European Space Policy
A formal European Space Policy was established on 22 May 2007 when a joint and concomitant meeting at ministerial level of the Council of the European Union and the Council of the European Space Agency adopted a Resolution on the European Space Policy...

 
%
ECS states  various various %
Other income %
Total ESA ' %

Associate Members


Currently the only associated member of ESA is Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Previously associated members were Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

Canada


Since 1 January 1979, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA's deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA's programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada.

Budget appropriation and allocation


The budget of ESA was €2.977 billion in 2005, €2.904 billion in 2006 and grew to €3.018 billion in 2008 and €3.600 billion in 2009. Every 3–4 years, ESA member states agree on a budget plan for several years at an ESA member states conference. This plan can be amended in future years, however provides the major guideline for ESA for several years. The last major conference was held at the end of 2008, setting the budget for the years to 2012.

The 2011 funding allocations for major areas of ESA activity are shown on the pie-chart on the right. The section called 'Other' includes Technology Development, Space Situational Awareness and spending related to European Cooperating States.

Countries typically have their own space programmes that differ in how they operate organisationally and financially with ESA. For example, the French space agency CNES has a budget double the amount it contributes to ESA. Several space-related projects are joint projects between national space agencies and ESA (e.g. COROT
Corot
Corot may refer to:* Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, French landscape painter * COROT, a space mission with the dual aims of finding extrasolar planets and performing asteroseismology* COROT-7, a dwarf star in the Monoceros constellation...

). Also, ESA is not the only European space organisation (for example European Union Satellite Centre
European Union Satellite Centre
The European Union Satellite Centre is an agency of the European Union's Council of Ministers which gathers information through satellite images....

).

Enlargement



After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described here.
Nations who want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to cooperate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation's space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter. ESA is likely to expand quite rapidly in the coming years. Many countries, most of which joined the EU in both 2004 and 2007, have started to cooperate with ESA on various levels:
Applicant state Cooperation Agreement ECS Agreement PECS Charter(s) ESA Convention National Program
1st: 5 November 2003
2nd: 26 September 2008
2012 HSO
Hungarian Space Office
The Hungarian Space Office is the national space agency of the Republic of Hungary. It was established by the Hungarian government in 1992. , the current director is Előd Both .-External links:* - English page...

16 February 2007 ROSA
Romanian Space Agency
The Romanian Space Agency is the Romanian national Coordinator for space-related technology, activities and programs since 1991....

28 April 2008 (2012 or 2013) CBK-PAN
Space Research Centre
The Space Research Centre is an interdisciplinary research institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. It was established in 1977. SRC PAS is the only institute in Poland whose activity is fully dedicated to the research of terrestrial space, the solar system and the Earth using space technology...

TÜBİTAK
through MoEC
SSAU
through MoHEST
through MoES
through MoCW
through MoE
through MoE
Ministry of Economy (Lithuania)
The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania is a government department of the Republic of Lithuania. Its operations are authorized by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, decrees issued by the President and Prime Minister, and laws passed by the Seimas...

ISA
Israeli Space Agency
Israel Space Agency is a governmental body that coordinates all Israeli space research programs with scientific and commercial goals. It was established in 1983 and is currently headed by Aluf professor Yitzhak Ben Yisrael...



Romania signed the ESA Convention on 20 January 2011 and will become the 19th member of ESA once it deposits its instrument of ratification with the government of France. This is due to happen later in 2011.

Possible future cooperation


The political perspective of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) is to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014.

So far the only two EU member states that have not signed an ESA Cooperation Agreement are Bulgaria and Malta. Both of them, however, have already announced their intention to join ESA. on 9 April 2009 announced their intention to participate in the activities of ESA through IKI-BAN. on 20 June 2009 announced their intention to participate in the activities of ESA through the Malta Council for Science and Technology.

Launch vehicle fleet


ESA has made great progress towards its goal of having a complete fleet of launch vehicles in service, competing in all sectors of the launch market. ESA's fleet will soon consist of three major rocket designs, Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

, Soyuz-2 and Vega
Vega (launcher)
Vega is an expendable launch system being developed for Arianespace jointly by the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. Development began in 1998 and the first launch, which will take place from the Guiana Space Centre, is planned for early 2012...

. Rocket launches are carried out by Arianespace
Arianespace
Arianespace SA is a French company founded in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company. It undertakes the production, operation, and marketing of the Ariane 5 rocket launcher as part of the Ariane programme....

, which has 23 shareholders representing the industry that manufactures the Ariane 5 as well as CNES
CNES
The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

, at the spaceport
Spaceport
A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or airport for aircraft. The word spaceport, and even more so cosmodrome, has traditionally been used for sites capable of launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth or on interplanetary trajectories...

 in French Guiana. Because many communication satellites have equatorial orbits, launches from French Guiana are able to take larger payloads into space than from more northerly spaceports. In addition, equatorial launches give spacecraft an extra 'push' of nearly 500 m/s due to the higher rotation velocity of someone standing on the equator than near the Earth's axis where rotation velocity approaches nil.

Ariane 5




The Ariane 5 rocket is the primary launcher of ESA. Its maximum estimated payload is 6-10 tons to GTO
Geostationary transfer orbit
A geosynchronous transfer orbit or geostationary transfer orbit is a Hohmann transfer orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit....

 and up to 21 tons to LEO
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

. The launch craft has been in service since 1997 and replaced Ariane 4
Ariane 4
Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it...

. The Ariane rocket exists in several specifications, the heaviest being Ariane 5 ECA, which failed during its first test flight in 2002, but has since made twenty-two consecutive successful flights.

ESA's Ariane
Ariane (rocket)
Ariane is a series of a European civilian expendable launch vehicles for space launch use. The name comes from the French spelling of the mythological character Ariadne....

 1
Ariane 1
Ariane 1 is the first version of the Ariane launcher family. Ariane 1 was designed primarily to put two telecommunications satellites at a time into orbit, thus reducing costs. As the size of the satellites grew Ariane 1 gave way to the more powerful Ariane 2 and Ariane 3 launchers.- Vehicle...

, 2
Ariane 2
Ariane 2 was a European expendable carrier rocket, which was used for six launches between 1986 and 1989. It was a member of the Ariane family of rockets, and was produced by Aérospatiale in France....

, 3 and 4
Ariane 4
Ariane 4 was an expendable launch system, designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and manufactured and marketed by its subsidiary Arianespace. Ariane 4 was justly known as the ‘workhorse’ of the Ariane family. Since its first flight on 15 June 1988 until the last, on 15 February 2003, it...

 launchers (the latter of which was ESA's long-time workhorse) have been retired.

Soyuz


Soyuz-2 (also called the Soyuz-ST) is a Russian medium payload (ca. 3 metric tons to GTO
Geostationary transfer orbit
A geosynchronous transfer orbit or geostationary transfer orbit is a Hohmann transfer orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit....

) launcher brought into ESA service in October 2011. ESA has entered into a €340 million joint venture with the Russian Federal Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency
The Russian Federal Space Agency , commonly called Roscosmos and abbreviated as FKA and RKA , is the government agency responsible for the Russian space science program and general aerospace research. It was previously the Russian Aviation and Space Agency .Headquarters of Roscosmos are located...

 over the use of the Soyuz launcher. Under the agreement, the Russian agency manufactures Soyuz rocket parts for ESA, which are then shipped to French Guiana for assembly.

ESA benefits because it gains a medium payload launcher, complementing its fleet while saving on development costs. In addition, the Soyuz rocket—which has been the Russian's space launch workhorse for some 40 years—is proven technology with a good safety record.

Russia also benefits in that it gets access to the Kourou launch site. Launching from Kourou rather than Baikonur
Baikonur
Baikonur , formerly known as Leninsk, is a city in Kyzylorda Province of Kazakhstan, rented and administered by the Russian Federation. It was constructed to service the Baikonur Cosmodrome and was officially renamed Baikonur by Russian president Boris Yeltsin on December 20, 1995.The shape of the...

 will allow the Russians to almost double the Soyuz payload (3.0 tonnes vs. 1.7 tonnes to GTO
Geostationary transfer orbit
A geosynchronous transfer orbit or geostationary transfer orbit is a Hohmann transfer orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit....

), because of Kourou's closer proximity to the equator. Both agencies benefit from the long term strategic cooperation, which is also intended to enable future joint technology developments.

The maiden launch was on October 21, 2011, for two European space navigation satellites. : three hours and 49 minutes after blast-off, the ESA announced that the two Galileo IOV-1 & IOV-2 satellites had successfully reached their final orbit 23,222 kilometres above Earth, and that their launch had been a complete success.

Vega


Vega
Vega (launcher)
Vega is an expendable launch system being developed for Arianespace jointly by the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. Development began in 1998 and the first launch, which will take place from the Guiana Space Centre, is planned for early 2012...

 is ESA's small payload (ca. 1.5 metric tons to 700 km orbit) launcher. The leading ESA member state for the Vega Programme is Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, contributing 65% of the costs. Vega itself has been designed to be a body launcher with three solid propulsion stages and an additional liquid propulsion
Liquid rocket
A liquid-propellant rocket or a liquid rocket is a rocket engine that uses propellants in liquid form. Liquids are desirable because their reasonably high density allows the volume of the propellant tanks to be relatively low, and it is possible to use lightweight pumps to pump the propellant from...

 upper module to place the cargo into the exact orbit intended. For a small-cargo rocket it is remarkable that Vega will be able to place multiple payloads into orbit.

Vegas first and main stage (P80) is a direct modification of the Ariane 5 EAP (solid boosters) developed by CNES, the French space agency. The maiden launch is planned for the second half of 2011.

History



At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight, rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for unmanned space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft: It was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek
Vladimír Remek
Vladimír Remek is the first Czechoslovak in space and the first cosmonaut from a country other than the Soviet Union or the United States. As of 2004, with the entry of the Czech Republic into the European Union Vladimír Remek is considered to be the first astronaut from the EU...

 who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet European in space (the first European in space being Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 of the Soviet Union) — on a Soviet
Soviet space program
The Soviet space program is the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991...

 Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

, followed by the Pole
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn
Sigmund Jähn
Sigmund Werner Paul Jähn is a German pilot who became the first German to fly in space as part of the Soviet Union's Interkosmos program.-Biography:Jähn was born in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, in the Vogtland district of Saxony, Germany...

 in the same year. This Soviet cooperation programme, known as Intercosmos
Intercosmos
Interkosmos was a space program of the Soviet Union designed to include members of military forces of allied Warsaw Pact countries in manned and unmanned missions...

, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries, however in 1982, Jean-Loup Chrétien
Jean-Loup Chrétien
Jean-Loup Jacques Marie Chrétien, is a French engineer, a retired Général de Brigade in the Armée de l'Air , and a former CNES astronaut. He flew on two Franco-Soviet space missions and a NASA Space Shuttle mission...

 became the first western European on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7
Salyut 7
Salyut 7 was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was first manned in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including a total of 12 manned and 15 unmanned launches...

 space station.

Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES
CNES
The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

 astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold
Ulf Merbold
Dr. Ulf Dietrich Merbold is the first West German citizen and second German native to have flown in space. He is also the first member of the European Space Agency Astronaut Corps to participate in a spaceflight mission. He holds the distinction of being the first non-US citizen to reach orbit in...

 is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9
STS-9
STS-9 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission which carried the first Spacelab module into orbit to conduct space-based scientific experiments. It was the sixth mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia, and was Columbia's last flight until STS-61-C in January 1986...

 Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission that included the first use of the European built Spacelab
Spacelab
Spacelab was a reusable laboratory used on certain spaceflights flown by the Space Shuttle. The laboratory consisted of multiple components, including a pressurized module, an unpressurized carrier and other related hardware housed in the Shuttle's cargo bay...

 in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of this missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (like separate two by Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and one by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

) with European astronauts as masters not a guests on a board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight cooperation with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and later Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, including numerous visits to Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

.

During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre
European Astronaut Centre
The European Astronaut Centre is a centre of the European Space Agency and home of the European Astronaut Corps. It is located in Cologne, Germany, and is sub-divided in to four separate arms, these being Training, Medicine, Education and PR, and Astronaut Management...

 in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the coordination with international partners especially with regards to the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included 12 members, including nationals from all the large Western European countries except the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

In the summer of 2008 ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates till the registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing which narrowed down the field to 192. After two stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009 as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps
European Astronaut Corps
The European Astronaut Corps is a unit of the European Space Agency that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members on U.S. and Russian space missions. As of May 2010, 21 ESA astronauts have flown in space, including one female. There are currently 14 active members of the Corps. The...

 were selected: five men and one woman.

Astronaut Corps


The astronauts of the European Space Agency are:
Jean-François Clervoy
Jean-François Clervoy
Jean-François André Clervoy is a French engineer and test pilot and an CNES and ESA astronaut. He is a veteran of three NASA Space Shuttle missions.-Personal life:...

Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha Cristoforetti is an engineer, the third woman astronaut in the European Space Agency, and the first Italian woman astronaut.-Biography:...

Frank De Winne
Frank De Winne
Frank, Viscount De Winne is a Belgian Air Component officer and an ESA astronaut. He is Belgium's second person in space . He was the first ESA astronaut to command a space mission when he served as commander of ISS Expedition 21.-Education:De Winne graduated in 1979 from the Royal School of Cadets...

Pedro Duque
Pedro Duque
Pedro Duque Duque is a Spanish astronaut and a veteran of two space missions.Duque earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in 1986. He worked for GMV and for the European Space Agency for six years before being selected as an astronaut candidate in...

Reinhold Ewald
Reinhold Ewald
Dr. Reinhold Ewald is a German physicist and ESA astronaut.Born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, he received diploma in experimental physics from the University of Cologne in 1983 and the Ph.D. in 1986, with a minor degree in human physiology.In 1990, he was selected to the German astronaut team,...

Léopold Eyharts
Léopold Eyharts
Léopold Eyharts is a Brigadier General in the French Air Force and an ESA astronaut.-Background:Eyharts was born April 28, 1957, in Biarritz, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France...

Alexander Gerst
Alexander Gerst
Alexander Gerst is a European Space Agency astronaut having been selected in 2009 to undergo training. He studied at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where he received a university degree in physics. He also studied Earth Science at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where he...

Umberto Guidoni
Umberto Guidoni
Umberto Guidoni is an Italian politician and a former ESA astronaut. He is a veteran of two NASA space shuttle missions...


Christer Fuglesang
Christer Fuglesang
Dr. Arne Christer Fuglesang is a Swedish physicist and an ESA astronaut. He was first launched aboard the STS-116 Space Shuttle mission on December 10, 2006, at 01:47 GMT, making him the first Swedish citizen in space....

André Kuipers
André Kuipers
André Kuipers is a Dutch physician and ESA astronaut. He officially became the second Dutch and the third Dutch-born astronaut upon launch of Soyuz TMA-4 on April 19, 2004. Kuipers returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-3 11 days later.Kuipers is scheduled to become the first Dutch astronaut to...

Andreas Mogensen
Andreas Mogensen
Andreas Enevold Mogensen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1976. In Denmark he worked as an engineer in the R&D department of Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark. He has been working in Germany as an attitude & orbit control system and guidance, navigation & control engineer for HE Space Operations...

Paolo Nespoli
Paolo A. Nespoli
Paolo Angelo Nespoli is an Italian astronaut. In 2007, he first traveled into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a mission specialist of STS-120. In the December of 2010 he again traveled into space aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft as an Expedition 26/27 flight...

Claude Nicollier
Claude Nicollier
Claude Nicollier is the first astronaut from Switzerland, and has flown on four Space Shuttle missions. His first spaceflight was in 1992, and his final spaceflight was in 1999. He took part in two servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope...

Luca Parmitano
Luca Parmitano
Luca Parmitano is an astronaut in the European Astronaut Corps for the European Space Agency . The astronauts work on missions at the International Space Station. He was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009....

Timothy Peake
Timothy Peake
Timothy Nigel Peake is a former British Army Air Corps officer and a current European Space Agency astronaut. He is the first British citizen to be selected as an astronaut by ESA...

Philippe Perrin
Philippe Perrin
Philippe Perrin is a French test pilot and former CNES and European Space Agency astronaut.-Background:Perrin was born 6 January 1963, in Meknes, Morocco, but considers Avignon, Provence, to be his hometown. He entered the French École polytechnique in 1982 and graduated as "Ingénieur...


Thomas Pesquet
Thomas Pesquet
Thomas Pesquet is French engineer and pilot who has been chosen to train as a European Space Agency astronaut....

Thomas Reiter
Thomas Reiter
Thomas Arthur Reiter is a retired European astronaut and is a Brigadier General in the Luftwaffe currently working as Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations at the European Space Agency . , he was one of the top 25 astronauts in terms of total time in space...

Hans Schlegel
Hans Schlegel
Hans Wilhelm Schlegel is a German physicist, an ESA astronaut, and a veteran of two NASA Space Shuttle missions.-Early life and education:...

Gerhard Thiele
Gerhard Thiele
Dr. Gerhard Paul Julius Thiele is a German physicist and a former ESA astronaut.-Early life and education:Born in Heidenheim an der Brenz, he attended the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium in Ludwigsburg. After school he volunteered for the German Navy, serving as Operations/Weapons Officer aboard fast...

Michel Tognini
Michel Tognini
Michel Ange-Charles Tognini is a French test pilot, officer in the French Air Force, and a former CNES and ESA astronaut who currently serves as Head of the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space Agency. A veteran of two space flights, Tognini has logged a total of 19 days in space...

Roberto Vittori
Roberto Vittori
Roberto Vittori is an Italian air force officer and an ESA astronaut. After graduating from the Italian Air Force Academy in 1989, Vittori flew in the Italian Air Force. He then trained as a test pilot in the United States....


Manned launch vehicles


In the 1980s France pressed for an independent European manned launch vehicle. Around 1978 it was decided to pursue a reusable spacecraft model and starting in November 1987 a project to create a mini-shuttle by the name of Hermes
Hermes (shuttle)
Hermes was a proposed spaceplane designed by the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales in 1975, and later by the European Space Agency. It was superficially similar to the US X-20. France proposed in January 1985 to go through with Hermes development under the auspices of the ESA. Hermes was...

 was introduced. The craft itself was modelled comparable to the first proposals of the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 and consisted of a small reusable spaceship that would carry 3 to 5 astronauts and 3 to 4 metric tons of payload for scientific experiments. With a total maximum weight of 21 metric tons it would have been launched on the Ariane 5
Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is, as a part of Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit or low Earth orbit . Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales...

 rocket, which was being developed at that time. It was planned solely for use in Low-Earth orbit space flights. The planning and pre-development phase concluded in 1991; however, the production phase was never fully implemented because at that time the political landscape had changed significantly. With the fall of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 ESA looked forward to cooperation with Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to build a next-generation human space vehicle. Thus the Hermes
Hermes (shuttle)
Hermes was a proposed spaceplane designed by the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales in 1975, and later by the European Space Agency. It was superficially similar to the US X-20. France proposed in January 1985 to go through with Hermes development under the auspices of the ESA. Hermes was...

 program was cancelled in 1995 after about 3 billion dollars had been spent. The Columbus space station program had a similar fate.

In the 21st century ESA started new programs in order to create its own manned spacecraft, most notable among its various projects and proposals is Hopper
Hopper (spacecraft)
Hopper was a proposed European Space Agency orbital and reusable launch vehicle. The shuttle prototype spaceplane was one of several proposals for a European reusable launch vehicle planned to cheaply ferry satellites into orbit by 2015...

, whose prototype by EADS
EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

, called Phoenix, has already been tested. While projects such as Hopper
Hopper (spacecraft)
Hopper was a proposed European Space Agency orbital and reusable launch vehicle. The shuttle prototype spaceplane was one of several proposals for a European reusable launch vehicle planned to cheaply ferry satellites into orbit by 2015...

 are neither concrete nor to be realised within the next decade, other possibilities for human spaceflight in cooperation with the Russian Space Agency have emerged. Following talks with the Russian Space Agency in 2004 and June 2005, a cooperation between ESA and the Russian Space Agency was announced to jointly work on the Russian-designed Kliper
Kliper
Kliper is a partly reusable manned spacecraft, proposed by RSC Energia.Designed primarily to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, Kliper has been proposed in two versions: as a pure lifting body design and as spaceplane with small wings...

, a reusable spacecraft that would be available for space travel beyond LEO (e.g. the moon or even Mars). It was speculated that Europe would finance part of it. However, a €50 million participation study for Kliper
Kliper
Kliper is a partly reusable manned spacecraft, proposed by RSC Energia.Designed primarily to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, Kliper has been proposed in two versions: as a pure lifting body design and as spaceplane with small wings...

, which was expected to be approved in December 2005, was finally not approved by the ESA member states. The Russian state tender for the Kliper
Kliper
Kliper is a partly reusable manned spacecraft, proposed by RSC Energia.Designed primarily to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, Kliper has been proposed in two versions: as a pure lifting body design and as spaceplane with small wings...

 project was subsequently cancelled in the summer of 2006.

In June 2006 ESA member states granted 15 million to the Crew Space Transportation System
CSTS
CSTS or ACTS is a human spaceflight system proposal. It was originally a joint project between the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency , but is now solely an ESA project...

 (CSTS) study, a two-year study to design a spacecraft capable of going beyond Low-Earth orbit based on the current Soyuz
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

 design. This project is pursued with Roskosmos instead of the previously cancelled Kliper
Kliper
Kliper is a partly reusable manned spacecraft, proposed by RSC Energia.Designed primarily to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, Kliper has been proposed in two versions: as a pure lifting body design and as spaceplane with small wings...

 proposal. A decision on the actual implementation and construction of the CSTS spacecraft is contemplated for 2008, with the major design decisions being made before the summer of 2007.
In mid-2009 EADS Astrium was awarded a €21 million study into designing a manned variation of the European ATV vehicle which is believed to now be the basis of the Advanced Crew Transportation System design.

Cooperation with other countries and organisations


ESA has signed cooperation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (for the Chandrayan mission), and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and is participating in the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 together with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (NASA), Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 (JAXA).

European Union



ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU), and has non-EU countries Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

There are common goals between ESA and the EU, and ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA cooperate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

. Under the European Space Policy of 2007
European Space Policy
A formal European Space Policy was established on 22 May 2007 when a joint and concomitant meeting at ministerial level of the Council of the European Union and the Council of the European Space Agency adopted a Resolution on the European Space Policy...

, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing coordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni
Umberto Guidoni
Umberto Guidoni is an Italian politician and a former ESA astronaut. He is a veteran of two NASA space shuttle missions...

, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, "since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players."

An independent report on the future of ESA, requested by its director-general, recommends further integration of ESA into the structures of the EU. Space policy would be decided by the European Council and ESA would be the de facto space agency of the European Union, not excluding the possibility of making it a formal EU agency. This would also help with co-operation between space policy and environmental or security policy
European Security and Defence Policy
The Common Security and Defence Policy , formerly known as the European Security and Defence Policy , is a major element of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and is the domain of EU policy covering defence and military aspects...

, Galileo itself has a security dimension.

The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

If a roadmap is accepted at the November 2010 Brussels conference as planned, it is estimated that an additional €3 billion annually would be made available for European space exploration activities by the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

. The political perspective of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) is to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date may not be met.

National space organisations of member countries

  • The Centre National d'Études Spatiales
    CNES
    The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

     (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a "public establishment of industrial and commercial character"). Its headquarters are in central Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    . CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    )
  • The UK Space Agency
    UK Space Agency
    The UK Space Agency is a United Kingdom government agency responsible for its civil space programme. It was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre and took over responsibility for government policy and key budgets for space and represents the UK in all negotiations...

     is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
  • The Italian Space Agency
    Italian Space Agency
    The Italian Space Agency is a government agency established in 1988 to fund, regulate and coordinate space exploration activities in Italy...

     (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana or ASI) was founded in 1988 to promote, coordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy's delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
  • The German Aerospace Center
    German Aerospace Center
    The German Aerospace Center is the national centre for aerospace, energy and transportation research of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has multiple locations throughout Germany. Its headquarters are located in Cologne. It is engaged in a wide range of research and development projects in...

     (DLR) (German: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.) is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
  • The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial
    Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial is Spain's space agency. It was founded in 1942, as the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeronáutica , and has its headquarters in Torrejón de Ardoz, near Madrid....

     (INTA) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialized in aerospace research and technology development in Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    . Between other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

NASA


ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

. Since ESA's astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA's astronauts to get into space through partnership programs with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab
Spacelab
Spacelab was a reusable laboratory used on certain spaceflights flown by the Space Shuttle. The laboratory consisted of multiple components, including a pressurized module, an unpressurized carrier and other related hardware housed in the Shuttle's cargo bay...

 program was an ESA-NASA joint research program that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA's main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, the Infrared Space Observatory
Infrared Space Observatory
The Infrared Space Observatory was a space telescope for infrared light designed and operated by the European Space Agency , in cooperation with ISAS and NASA...

, INTEGRAL
INTEGRAL
The European Space Agency's INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory is an operational Earth satellite, launched in 2002 for detecting some of the most energetic radiation that comes from space. It is the most sensitive gamma ray observatory ever launched.INTEGRAL is an ESA mission in...

, SOHO
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is a spacecraft built by a European industrial consortium led by Matra Marconi Space that was launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS launch vehicle on December 2, 1995 to study the Sun, and has discovered over 2100 comets. It began normal operations in May...

, and others. Also, the Hubble space telescope
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4 meter aperture telescope in low Earth orbit, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared...

 is a joint project of NASA and ESA. Future unmanned projects that are in development right now and are ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope , previously known as Next Generation Space Telescope , is a planned next-generation space telescope, optimized for observations in the infrared. The main technical features are a large and very cold 6.5 meter diameter mirror, an observing position far from Earth,...

 or the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna
The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna is a planned space mission to detect and accurately measure gravitational waves from astronomical sources. LISA was originally conceived as a joint effort between the United States space agency NASA and the European Space Agency...

. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission
Mars Sample Return Mission
A Mars sample return mission would be a spaceflight mission to collect rock and dust samples from Mars and to return them to Earth for analysis...

.

Cooperation with other space agencies


Since China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Recently the two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission
Double Star Mission
Double Star is a joint satellite based space mission by the China National Space Administration and the European Space Agency . It is the first space mission launched by China to investigate Earth's magnetosphere. It consists of two satellites: an Equatorial satellite and Polar satellite...

.

ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in the form of the CSTS
CSTS
CSTS or ACTS is a human spaceflight system proposal. It was originally a joint project between the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency , but is now solely an ESA project...

, the preparation of French Guyana spaceport for launches of Soyuz
Soyuz (rocket)
The Soyuz was a Soviet expendable carrier rocket designed by OKB-1 and manufactured by State Aviation Plant No. 1 in Samara, Russia. It was used to launch Soyuz spacecraft as part of the Soyuz programme, initially on unmanned test flights, followed by the first 19 manned launches of the...

 rockets and other projects. With India ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also cooperating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo
BepiColombo
BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the planet Mercury, due to launch in 2014. The mission is still in the planning stages so changes to the current description are likely over the next few years...

 mission to Mercury
Mercury (plant)
Mercurialis is a genus of plants in the family Euphorbiaceae, the spurges, known commonly as the mercuries. These are slender herbs , rhizomatious perennials and woody perennials...

.

Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia's Roskosmos space agency would "carry out the first flight to Mars together."

International Space Station



With regard to the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 (ISS) ESA is not represented by all of its member states: 10 of the 18 ESA member countries currently participate in the project.Ten of Europe's member states are participating: Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 chose not to participate, because of lack of interest or concerns about the expense of the project. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 withdrew from the preliminary agreement because of concerns about the expense of the project. Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 and the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 joined ESA after the agreement had been signed.
ESA is taking part in the construction and operation of the ISS
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 with contributions such as Columbus
Columbus (ISS module)
Columbus is a science laboratory that is part of the International Space Station and is the largest single contribution to the ISS made by the European Space Agency ....

, a science laboratory module that was brought into orbit by NASA's STS-122
STS-122
STS-122 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station , flown by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. STS-122 marked the 24th shuttle mission to the ISS, and the 121st space shuttle flight since STS-1....

 Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission and the Cupola observatory module that was completed in July 2005 by Alenia Spazio
Alenia Aeronautica
Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, is a European aerospace company from Italy. Its subsidiaries include Alenia Aermacchi and Alenia Aeronavali...

 for ESA. The current estimates for the ISS are approaching €100 billion in total (development, construction and 10 years of maintaining the station) of which ESA has committed to paying €8 billion. About 90% of the costs of ESA's ISS share will be contributed by Germany (41%), France (28%) and Italy (20%). German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter
Thomas Reiter
Thomas Arthur Reiter is a retired European astronaut and is a Brigadier General in the Luftwaffe currently working as Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations at the European Space Agency . , he was one of the top 25 astronauts in terms of total time in space...

 was the first long-term ISS crew member.

As of 2008, the spacecraft establishing supply links to the ISS are the Progress
Progress spacecraft
The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is...

, Soyuz
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

 and Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

. ESA has developed the Automated Transfer Vehicle
Automated Transfer Vehicle
The Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV is an expendable, unmanned resupply spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency . ATVs are designed to supply the International Space Station with propellant, water, air, payload and experiments...

 (ATV) for ISS resupply. Each ATV has a cargo capacity of 7667 kilograms (16,902.8 lb). The first ATV, Jules Verne
Jules Verne ATV
The Jules Verne ATV, or Automated Transfer Vehicle 001 , was an unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency . The ATV was named after the French science-fiction author Jules Verne...

, was launched on 9 March 2008 and on 3 April 2008 successfully docked with the ISS. This manoeuvre, considered a major technical feat, involved using automated systems to allow the ATV to track the ISS, moving at 27,000 km/h, and attach itself with an accuracy of 2 cm. No other spacefaring nations or space agency currently possess this level of autonomy in rendezvous and docking activities, considered key to future space exploration. With the Space Shuttle reaching its retirement age in 2010, until NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 has a replacement for it such as COTS
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services is a NASA program to coordinate the delivery of crew and cargo to the International Space Station by private companies. The program was announced on January 18, 2006...

 the ATV together with Progress, Soyuz and the Japanese transporter HTV
H-II Transfer Vehicle
The H-II Transfer Vehicle , called , is an unmanned resupply spacecraft used to resupply the Kibō Japanese Experiment Module and the International Space Station . The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has been working on the design since the early 1990s. The first mission, HTV-1, was originally...

 will be the only links between Earth and the ISS.

European Life and Physical Sciences research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) is mainly based on the ELIPS
Elips
The group “Elips” was formed in 1986. The first concert was held in March, 1986. The first members were:Soon Vardan Mamikonyan left the group and Aram Petrosyan became the drummer of the group. In a short period of time the group gained popularity in Armenia and gave numerous concerts...

 programme that was initiated in 2001.

Languages


According to Annex 1, Resolution No. 8 of the Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 may be used in all meetings of the Agency, with interpretation provided into these three languages. All official documents are available in English and French with all documents concerning the ESA Council being available in German as well.

Facilities

  • Headquarters
    Headquarters
    Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

     of ESA, Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • European Space Operations Centre
    European Space Operations Centre
    The European Space Operations Centre is responsible for controlling ESA satellites and space probes. The centre is located in Darmstadt, Germany. It is Mission Control for most of the space projects of the ESA. Since its creation in 1967, the centre has operated 60 European space missions...

     (ESOC), Darmstadt
    Darmstadt
    Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Centre Spatial Guyanais
    Centre Spatial Guyanais
    The Guiana Space Centre or, more commonly, Centre Spatial Guyanais is a French spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport due to its proximity to the equator, and that launches are in a favourable direction over water...

    , Kourou
    Kourou
    Kourou is a commune in French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America.Kourou is the location of the Guiana Space Centre, France and ESA's main spaceport.-Geography:...

    , French Guiana
    French Guiana
    French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

  • European Space Research and Technology Centre
    European Space Research and Technology Centre
    The European Space Research and Technology Centre is the European Space Agency's main technology development and test centre for spacecraft and space technology. It is situated in Noordwijk, South Holland, in the western Netherlands....

     (ESTEC), Noordwijk
    Noordwijk
    Noordwijk is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 51.53 km² and had a population of 24,707 in May 2006....

    , The Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

  • ESA Centre for Earth Observation
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation
    The ESA Centre for Earth Observation located in Frascati, Italy, is one of the five specialised centres of the European Space Agency located across Europe...

     (ESRIN), Frascati
    Frascati
    Frascati is a town and comune in the province of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy. It is located south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills close to the ancient city of Tusculum. Frascati is closely associated with science, being the location of several international scientific...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • European Astronaut Centre
    European Astronaut Centre
    The European Astronaut Centre is a centre of the European Space Agency and home of the European Astronaut Corps. It is located in Cologne, Germany, and is sub-divided in to four separate arms, these being Training, Medicine, Education and PR, and Astronaut Management...

     (EAC), Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

    , Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

  • ESTRACK
    ESTRACK
    The European Space Operations Centre operates a number of ground-based space-tracking stations for the European Space Agency known as the European Space Tracking network. The stations support various ESA spacecraft and facilitate communications between ground operators and scientific probes such...

     European Space Tracking Network
  • European Robotics and Climate Change Centre, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
    Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
    The Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is a science and technology campus near the villages of Harwell and Chilton, Oxfordshire, England. The site is about south of Oxford...

    , United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


See also


  • List of director generals of the European Space Agency
    Director General of the European Space Agency
    The Director General of the European Space Agency is the highest-ranked official of the European Space Agency , a space agency formed by the collaboration of prominent European nations.- ELDO Secretaries General :- ESRO Directors General :...

  • European integration
    European integration
    European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

    , section Space
  • European Launcher Development Organisation
    European Launcher Development Organisation
    The European Launcher Development Organisation was a multinational consortium formed in the 1960s to build an indigenous European space launch vehicle, Europa....

     (ELDO)
  • European Space Research Organisation
    ESRO
    The European Space Research Organization was an international organisation founded by 10 European nations with the intention of jointly pursuing scientific research in space. It was founded in 1964...

     (ESRO)
  • List of projects of the European Space Agency
  • Space policy of the European Union
    Space policy of the European Union
    Article should be combined with European Space Policy.The Space policy of the European Union is not currently agreed, though it was expected to be released before Summer 2007. Currently each member state pursues their own national space policy, though often co-ordinating through the independent...

  • European Space Policy
    European Space Policy
    A formal European Space Policy was established on 22 May 2007 when a joint and concomitant meeting at ministerial level of the Council of the European Union and the Council of the European Space Agency adopted a Resolution on the European Space Policy...

  • Agencies of the European Union
    Agencies of the European Union
    An agency of the European Union is a decentralised body of the European Union , which are distinct from the institutions. Agencies are established to accomplish specific tasks. Each agency has its own legal personality...

     and Enhanced co-operation
    Enhanced co-operation
    In the European Union , enhanced cooperation is a procedure where a minimum of nine EU member states are allowed to establish advanced integration or cooperation in an area within EU structures but without the other members being involved...


Further reading


  • ESA Bulletin (archive) is a quarterly magazine about the work of ESA that can be subscribed free of charge.
  • Bonnet, Roger; Manno, Vittorio (1994). International Cooperation in Space: The Example of the European Space Agency (Frontiers of Space). Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    . ISBN 0-674-45835-4.
  • Johnson, Nicholas (1993). Space technologies and space science activities of member states of the European Space Agency. .
  • Peeters, Walter (2000). Space Marketing: A European Perspective (Space Technology Library). ISBN 0-7923-6744-8.
  • Zabusky, Stacia (1995 and 2001). Launching Europe: An Ethnography of European Cooperation in Space Science. ISBN B00005OBX2.
  • Harvey, Brian (2003). Europe's Space Programme: To Ariane and Beyond. ISBN 1-85233-722-2.


External links


  • A European strategy for spaceEuropa
    Europa (web portal)
    Europa is the official web portal of the European Union . It is intended to improve the public’s interaction with EU institutions by quickly directing website visitors to the services or information they are seeking. Europa links to all EU agencies and institutions in addition to press releases...