The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space (the gateway to to space for Europe). Currently with 22 member states, it is headquartered in Paris, France which is where programmings and policies are decided. Although generally focused on unmanned scientific missions it is helping with the International Space Station (ISS).


Pierre Auger

In 1958, Pierre Auger and Edoardo Amaldi recommended that the European Governments set up a "purely scientific" organization for space research. Before the ESA was even there, the European peoples had two agencies, one concerned with developing a launching system (ELDO(European Launch Development Organization)) and the precursor of the European Space Agency, the ESRO (European Space Research Organization), which was formed in March 20, 1964, by an agreement signed on June 14, 1962. The ESRO celebrated during the time of 1968-72 over its successes.?? In 1975, the ESRO and ELDO merged to form what is known as the present day ESA.

Nations Involved

Although the ESA had ten founding member nations (United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain), it has gained eleven more since then. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia have cooperation agreements with ESA.



ESA's budget for 2015 was 5.15 billion. ESA operates on the basis of geographical return, i.e. it invests in each Member State, through industrial contracts for space programmes, an amount more or less equivalent to each country’s contribution.

  • Little fun fact-each of the member states pay a tax on to fund the ESA, which is about the price of a movie ticket. The same thing is true for NASA, except the cost is 4 times as much.

Who wrote that? leesonma 03:08, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

It's on the ESA website. 01:52, April 10, 2012 (UTC)

The ESA's are funded by the finantial contributions of all the Agency's Member States (its based on the accordance of the members national product).


As of 2016, the total number of staff working for ESA numbered 2000 worldwide, from all the Member States and include scientists, engineers, information technology specialists and administrative personnel. The Europe's citizens enjoy the benefits, from jobs and economic growth, to public services, effecient communications and security.


  • ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe.

The ESA mission COS-B, along with NASA's SAS-2, provided the first detailed views of the Universe in Gamma-rays. COS-B carried a single large experiment, the Gamma-Ray Telescope, which was responsibility of a group of European research laboratories know as the Caravane Collaboration. Launched on the 9 August 1975, COS-B was originally projected to last two years, but it operated successfully for 6 years and 8 months. It provided the first complete map of the Galaxy in gamma-rays. Since then they have launched an unknown number since I have been unable to find the exact number.

Thermal Control

What does thermal control do?

Here are its goals:
  1. Maintain equipment temperature in specified ranges during all mission life.
  2. Guarantee optimum performances when equipment is operating
  3. Avoid damage when equipment is not operating
  4. Keep the specified temperature stability for delicate electronics, or stable optical components.
  5. Minimise temperature differences as specified between units, or temperature gradients along structural elements.
  6. Maintain boundary temperatures at interface between subsystems, to ease interface management
  7. Guarantee the correct operation of thermal control subsystem by means of design, analysis and test
  8. Determine the most influencing factors, and manage them within the satellite resources and Space environment constraints.

A typical thermal design loop consists of the following activities:

  • establish the thermal requirements
  • establish the worst environmental heat loads and power dissipation
  • elaborate the control means
  • build mathematical models to simulate the satellite thermal behaviour
  • analyse the design for worst environmental and dissipation heat loads
  • verify the design against the requirements
  • gather the budgets
  • change the design if necessary
  • verify the design by test and correlate the mathematical model

Future Plans


  • Contribute to the formulation of the overall ESA strategy;
  • Study feasibility for selection of new mission concepts;
  • Prepare/demonstrate the case for approval and funding of new optional projects/programmes;
  • Support the evolution of ESA by analysing and testing new working methodologie
  • promote the internal and external knowledge of those activities
  • illustrate the benefit of internal synergies
  • inform potential users
  • help with the identification of needs that can be covered by space systems
  • support the development of systems and activities that will cover needs not covered by existing programmes

Space for Earth


Mission Characteristics*Lifetime

9 Aug 1975 - 25 April 1982
  • Energy Range :2 keV - 5 GeV
  • Payload :

Magnetic-core, wire-matrix, spark chamber gamma-ray detector (~30 MeV-5 GeV), eff. area 50 cm2 at 400 MeVa 2-12 keV proportional counter mounted on the side of the gamma-ray detector*Science Highlights: Observations of gamma-ray pulsars, binary systems.Gamma-ray map of the Galaxy.Detailed observations of the GEMINGA gamma-ray pulsar.* Archive : Raw data, image and exposure maps from the Gamma ray detector

Launch Vehicles


The European Data Relay System’s first laser terminal has reached space aboard its host satellite and is now under way to its final operating position. It was released on April 15, 2016. The tests are going well so far.


The ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars spacecraft are in excellent health following launch last month, with the orbiter sending back its first test image of a starry view taken en route to the Red Planet. It was launched on the 14th of April of 2016.

Ariane 5

Ariane 5





  • Note:IXV means Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle


ESA's headquarters are in Paris which is where policies and programs are decided. ESA also has sites in a number of European countries, each of which has different responsibilities:

   * EAC, the European Astronauts Center in Cologne, Germany;
   * ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Center, in Villafranca del Castillo, Madrid, Spain;
   * ESOC, the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany;
   * ESRIN, the ESA center for Earth Observation, in Frascati, near Rome, Italy;
   * ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

ESA also has liaison offices in Belgium, USA and Russia; a launch base in French Guiana and ground/tracking stations in various parts of the world.

ESA Fiction