(Aerospace and Defence)
International Space Station
(Aerospace and Defence)
Ariane 5
(Aerospace and Defence)
Automated Transfer Vehicle
(Aerospace and Defence)
Thomas Pesquet

See also


Knowledge Identifier: &European_Space_Agency


European Space Agency

Intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, with 20 member states add

Category: Sciences (6)

Founded in 1975.

Countries: (24%), Europe (16%), Russia (9%)

Main connections: NASA, International Space Station, Ariane 5

Linked to: NASA, CNES, Canadian Space Agency, Soviet Union




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ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO add something


ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe first worked on by ESRO. add something


These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force add something


Colin Franklin (engineer) - In 1976 he carried out a study and produced the DOC report which led in 1978 to the signing of an Agreement for cooperation between Canada and the European Space Agency


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 was introduced add something


ESA joined NASA in the IUE, the world's first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated very successfully for 18 years add something


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 who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet European in space on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Miros?aw Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year add something


Telespazio VEGA - Since 1978, VEGA has worked on almost every ESA mission and many other European and international programmes, including Mars Express, the Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station , the Eumetsat Polar System, and the Ground Segment Development for ADEN.


Telespazio VEGA - VEGA was established in 1978 by a small group of engineers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, who bid for and won a contract to provide satellite operations support to ESA missions


Ariane 1, launched in 1979, brought mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward add something


Since 1 January 1979, Canada 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 in ESA's programmes and activities add something


Canadian Space Agency - Since January 1, 1979, Canada has had the special status of a cooperating state with the ESA, paying for the privilege and investing in working time and providing scientific instruments which are placed on European probes


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 in Cologne, Germany was established add something


In the 1980s France pressed for an independent European manned launch vehicle add something


Since ESA's astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA's astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments add something


Ceramic matrix composite - The European program HERMES of ESA, started in the 1980s and for financial reasons abandoned in 1992, has produced first results


Sky Television plc - In October 1981, SATV began test transmissions on the Orbital Test Satellite satellite after the European Space Agency allowed the company to test the satellite for the use of commercial television, with an hour of light entertainment in English each night


In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station add something


He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983 add something


International Space Station - ESA and NASA disagreed over the concept of the Columbus programme in 1986: America objected to ESA's using Columbus as building block of a future European space station, and were concerned that they would facilitate the creation of a potential competitor if the manned space outpost fulfilled its promise as supplier of commercially viable products, such as new materials and pharmaceuticals


Jean-Francois Clervoy - From 1987 until 1992 he directed the Parabolic Flight Programme at the Flight Test Centre, Brétigny-sur-Orge and provided technical support to the European Manned Space Programmes within the ESA Hermes crew office


The next two developments of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s add something


Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA add something


While ESA had relied on cooperation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances led to decisions to rely more on itself and on cooperation with Russia add something


Sigmund Jahn - Starting in 1990, after German reunification, he worked as a freelance consultant for the formerly West German spaceflight agency German Aerospace Center , and from 1993 for the European Space Agency to prepare for the Euromir missions


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 add something


Christer Fuglesang - In May 1992, Fuglesang was selected to join the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne , Germany


Thus the Hermes programme was cancelled in 1995 after about 3 billion dollars had been spent add something


The launch craft has been in service since 1997 and replaced Ariane 4 add something


International Space Station - A barter agreement between NASA and the ESA resulted in the Cupola's development being resumed in 1998 by the ESA. The module comes equipped with robotic workstations for operating the station's main robotic arm and shutters to protect its windows from damage caused by micrometeorites


Frank De Winne - In October 1998, Frank De Winne was selected as an astronaut candidate by the European Space Agency


Alain Pompidou - In 1999, he authored the joint report of UNESCO and the European Space Agency about "The Ethics of Space Policy"


Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - Attitude control was accomplished with manual thruster firings that consumed 7 kg of fuel weekly, while ESA developed a new gyroless operations mode that was successfully implemented on February 1, 1999


Rosetta (spacecraft) - It is part of the ESA Horizon 2000 cornerstone missions and is the first mission designed to both orbit and land on a comet


European Life and Physical Sciences research on board the International Space Station is mainly based on the ELIPS programme that was initiated in 2001 add something


Jean-Francois Clervoy - From 2001 through 2008 he was assigned Senior Advisor Astronaut of the ATV ESA project in Les Mureaux


International Space Station - The US orbital segment has redundant supplies of oxygen, from a pressurised storage tank on the Quest airlock module delivered in 2001, supplemented ten years later by ESA built Advanced Closed-Loop System in the Tranquility module , which produces by electrolysis


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 add something


Ariane 5 - Another partial failure occurred on 12 July 2001, with the delivery of two satellites into an incorrect orbit, at only half the height of the intended GTO. The ESA Artemis telecommunications satellite was able to reach its intended orbit on 31 January 2003, through the use of its experimental ion propulsion system


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


Ariane 5 - However, the failure of the first ECA flight in 2002, combined with a deteriorating satellite industry, caused ESA to cancel development in 2003


Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - In 2003 ESA reported the failure of the antenna Y-axis stepper motor, necessary for pointing the high-gain antenna and allowing the downlink of high-rate data


Colin Pillinger - Pillinger's first job was for NASA, analysing the lunar samples brought back by Apollo 11; but he is best known for being the principal investigator for the failed Beagle 2 Mars lander project, part of European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission


Universe - NASA released the first WMAP cosmic background radiation data in February 2003, while a higher resolution map regarding Planck data was released by ESA in March 2013


Soyuz (rocket family) - Another Soyuz-Fregat launched the ESA's Mars Express probe from Baikonur in June 2003


Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament 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 add something


Many countries, most of which joined the EU in both 2004 and 2007, have started to cooperate with ESA on various levels: add something


Rogue wave - In 2004 the ESA MaxWave project identified more than ten individual giant waves above in height during a short survey period of three weeks in a limited area of the South Atlantic


Rogue wave - In 2004 the ESA MaxWave project identified more than ten individual giant waves above in height during a short survey period of three weeks in a limited area of the South Atlantic


Alastair Reynolds - There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centre, part of the European Space Agency, until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full time


ExoMars - Originally, the ExoMars concept consisted of a large robotic rover being part of ESA's Aurora programme as a "Flagship mission" and was approved by the European Space Agency ministers in December 2005


As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom add something


The Russian state tender for the Kliper project was subsequently cancelled in the summer of 2006 add something


In June 2006 ESA member states granted 15 million to the Crew Space Transportation System study, a two-year study to design a spacecraft capable of going beyond Low-Earth orbit based on the current Soyuz design add something


Alan G. Poindexter - In July 2006, Poindexter was assigned as Pilot on the STS-122 mission that delivered the European Space Agency's Columbus Laboratory to the International Space Station in February 2008


ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for extrasolar planets add something


Under the European Space Policy of 2007, 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 add something


International Space Station - In 2007, Chinese vice minister of science and technology Li Xueyong said that China would like to participate in the ISS. In 2010, ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain stated his agency was ready to propose to the other 4 partners that China be invited to join the partnership, but that this needs to be a collective decision by all the current partners


Automated Transfer Vehicle - The first ATV arrived at the ESA spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 31 July 2007 after a nearly two week journey from Rotterdam harbour and was launched on 9 March 2008


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 add something


As of 2008, the spacecraft establishing supply links to the ISS are the Progress, Soyuz and Space Shuttle add something


In the summer of 2008, the ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009 add something


The last major conference was held at the end of 2008, setting the budget for the years to 2012 add something


With India ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 add something


Antonio Kim Ciccarelli - In 2008 Ciccarelli was named President and CEO of Carso Center for Advanced Research in Space Optics, a European laboratory that performs research and development in the field of advanced optical instrumentation and components for space applications, with participation in scientific missions in the space, in cooperation above all with the European Space Agency, NASA, and other space agencies


Jean-Francois Clervoy - In 2008, he was appointed member of the selection board for the new ESA astronaut class


The first ATV, "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 add something


Jules Verne - On 9 March 2008, the European Space Agency launched an unmanned resupply spacecraft named the Jules Verne ATV on a mission to bring supplies and cargo to the International Space Station


Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008 add something


Ariane 5 - The ESA Council of Ministers agreed to fund development of the new upper stage in November 2008


After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected - five men and one woman add something


The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency add something


Ceramic matrix composite - The Intermediate Experimental Vehicle , a project initiated by ESA in 2009, is Europe's first lifting body reentry vehicle


Thomas Pesquet - Pesquet was selected by ESA as a candidate in May 2009, and he successfully completed his basic training in November 2010


Frank De Winne - On 27 May 2009 De Winne launched aboard Soyuz TMA-15, becoming the first astronaut from the European Space Agency to command a space mission


ExoMars - On July 2009 NASA and ESA signed the Mars Exploration Joint Initiative, which proposed to utilize an Atlas rocket launcher instead of a Soyuz, which significantly altered the technical and financial setting of the ExoMars mission


ExoMars - In August 2009 it was announced that the Russian Federal Space Agency and & ESA had signed a contract that included cooperation on two Mars exploration projects: Russia's Fobos-Grunt project and ESA's ExoMars


Thomas Pesquet - He joined ESA in September 2009 and successfully completed Astronaut Basic Training in November 2010


The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009 add something


Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council add something


The 2011 funding allocations for major areas of ESA activity are shown on the pie-chart on the right add something


With the Space Shuttle's retirement in 2011, until NASA has a replacement for it such as COTS the ATV together with Progress, Soyuz and the Japanese transporter HTV are the only links between Earth and the ISS. add something


Jupiter - However by April 2011, ESA had formally ended the partnership citing budget issues at NASA and the consequences on the mission timetable


Automated Transfer Vehicle - In May 2011 the & ESA director general announced a possible collaboration with NASA to work on a successor to the ATV. A proposal is to be presented to ESA members in 2012


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 add something


Although the succeeding Ariane 5 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 add something


The maiden launch from Kourou was on 21 October 2011, for two European space navigation satellites add something


The second Soyuz launch from French Guiana on the 16th of December 2011 was a success add something


Lenovo - On December 2011, Lenovo announced the & YouTube Space Lab contest in conjunction with YouTube, NASA, the European Space Agency, and JAXA, allowing students between the ages of 14 and 18 the chance to devise experiments to be performed by astronauts on the International Space Station


It was followed by another two successful launches from Kourou in 2012, making the first 4 launches with the Soyuz from South America successful add something


European Union - Galileo is a proposed Satellite navigation system, to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency , and is to be operational by 2012


Automated Transfer Vehicle - On 2 April 2012 the ESA announced that the ATV program would end after the fifth ATV is launched in 2014


Automated Transfer Vehicle - On 2 April 2012, ESA announced that the ATV program would end after the fifth ATV is launched in 2014


In November 2012 ESA decided to join NASA's Orion programme add something


Ariane 5 - On 21 November 2012 ESA agreed to continue with the Ariane 5 ME, rather than more rapidly develop an Ariane 6 design to meet the challenge of lower priced competitors such as the SpaceX Falcon 9


Automated Transfer Vehicle - On 21 November 2012, the ESA decided they will construct an ATV derived Service Module ready to support the Orion capsule on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System in 2017


As of 2013, the spacecraft establishing supply links to the ISS are the Russian Progress and Soyuz, European ATV, Japanese Kounotori , and the USA COTS program vehicles Dragon and Cygnus add something


Comet - In 2013 ESA scientists reported that the ionosphere of the planet Venus streams outwards in a manner similar to the ion tail seen streaming from a comet under similar conditions


Automated Transfer Vehicle - In January 2013, the ESA and NASA announced the combined Orion and ATV derived service module


Venus - On January 29, 2013, ESA scientists reported that the ionosphere of the planet Venus streams outwards in a manner similar to "the ion tail seen streaming from a comet under similar conditions


ExoMars - On March 14, 2013, representatives of the ESA and the Russian space agency , signed a deal in which Russia becomes a full partner


The details and final go-ahead for Ariane 6 will be decided in 2014 add something


Thomas Pesquet - In 2014 Thomas was chosen by ESA for a six-month mission to the International Space Station starting in December 2016


Comet - On 22 January 2014, ESA scientists reported the detection, for the first definitive time, of water vapor on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt


In September 2014 ESA signed an agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation for cooperation in Dream Chaser project add something


Rosetta (spacecraft) - Comet - On 15 September 2014, ESA announced on the "head" of the comet as the lander's destination


Ariane 5 - While ESA governments are scheduled to decide in December 2014 whether to proceed with full development, the chairman of the German Aerospace Center criticized the current form of the Ariane 6 and the satellite operators are concerned that the rocket will not be fully competitive


Ariane 5 - On 2 December 2014, ESA decided to stop funding the development of Ariane 5 ME and instead focus on Ariane 6 which should have a lower cost per launch and allow more flexibility in the payloads


The following table lists all the member states and adjunct members, their ESA convention ratification dates, and their contributions in 2015: add something


Claudie Haignere - At that time, she was an advisor to the Director of the ESA. In 2015 Haigneré was criticised for her salary of 21,000 euros per month, more than the President of France, as well as for not paying taxes in France, and maintaining positions on the boards of France Telecom, Sanofi, Lacoste and L'Oréal


Ion thruster - LISA Pathfinder is an ESA spacecraft to be launched in 2015


Bulgaria was the latest in signing a Cooperation Agreement in April 2015 add something


Airbus Safran Launchers - On August 12, 2015, the European Space Agency ESA appointed Airbus Safran Launchers as principal contractor with the new development of the Ariane 6


Thomas Pesquet - Thomas was the backup to ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen who flew to the International Space Station on a 10-day flight in September 2015


Cassidian - "'LISA Pathfinder"', formerly "'Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-2"' , is an ESA spacecraft that was launched on 3 December 2015


Airbus Defence and Space - "'LISA Pathfinder"', formerly "'Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-2"' , is an ESA spacecraft that was launched on 3 December 2015


The 2016 budget allocations for major areas of ESA activity are shown in the chart on the right add something


Rosetta (spacecraft) - On 5 September 2016, ESA announced that the lander was discovered by the narrow-angle camera aboard "Rosetta" as the orbiter made a low, pass over the comet


Ariane 5 - Ariane 5 ME is scheduled to fly in 2018 add something


Ariane 5 - With first flight planned for 2018, it would have become ESA's principal launcher until the arrival of the new Ariane 6 version


Ultraviolet - A set of stained glass color reference chips is planned to be used to calibrate the color cameras for the 2019 ESA Mars rover mission, since they will remain unfaded by the high level of UV present at the surface of Mars


Thomas Pesquet - In 2019 & ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner tweeted that he had proposed Prequest for the next ESA flight to the ISS, meaning he would be the third member of the 2009 ESA selection group to fly in space twice


Glass - In the 21st century, scientists observe the properties of ancient stained glass windows, in which suspended nanoparticles prevent UV light from causing chemical reactions that change image colors, are developing photographic techniques that use similar stained glass to capture true color images of Mars for the 2019 ESA Mars Rover mission


On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with the ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the moon for lunar regolith add something