The European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organisation, established in 1975 with 10 founding member states : Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Today gathering 22 member states, everyday ESA faces the challenge of inter-cultural and international cooperation with a great success.
Today supporting SpaceUp, the original mission of ESA is to lead the development of Europe’s space capabilities as well as ensuring that space activities are beneficial to the citizen of Europe and those all around the globe.
ESA’s headquarters are in Paris. This is where policies and programmes are decided. ESA has also other sites in different European countries with various responsibilities:
- EAC the European Astronauts Centre in Cologne, Germany;
- ESAC the European Space Astronomy Centre, in Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid, Spain;
- ESOC the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany;
- ESRIN the ESA centre for Earth Observation, in Frascati, near Rome, Italy;
- ESTEC the European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, the Netherlands;
- ECSAT the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications, Harwell, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom;
- Redu Centre platform for testing satellite and part of ESA ground station network, Belgium’s Ardennes.