European Space Agency (ESA)

Agence spatiale européenne
Organismo Espacial Europeo

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31 May 1975, when came into 'de facto' operation on signature of the ESA Convention, following meeting of ministers of 10 European countries, July 1973, Brussels (Belgium). Came into existence 'de jure' on ratification of the ESA Convention, 30 Oct 1980, by 11 European countries: Belgium; Denmark; France; Germany FR; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; UK. Austria and Norway subsequently became associate member states, becoming full members on 1 Jan 1987. Finland became an associate member on 1 Jan 1987, and a full member from 1 Jan 1995. Portugal joined later. Ties exist with Canada under an agreement signed Dec 1981 and renewed in May 1989.

/Preceding organizations/: European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organization (ELDO) - also referred to as 'Centre européen pour la mise au point et la construction des lanceurs d'engins spatiaux (CECLES)' - whose Convention entered into force on 28 Feb 1964, and European Space Research Organization (ESRO) - also referred to as 'Centre européen de recherches spatiales (CERS)' - whose Convention entered into force on 20 Mar 1964. ELDO and ESRO were provided for under a Convention signed 14 June 1962, Paris (France), which also came into force 20 Mar 1964. The ESA Convention resulted in the termination of the ELDO and ESRO Conventions. Prior to ELDO/ESRO, a European Preparatory Commission for Space Research -- Commission préparatoire européenne pour la recherche spatiale (COPERS), had been set up at an Intergovernmental Conference, 1 Dec 1960, Meyrin (Switzerland). European Space Conference (ECS) was formed in 1966. European Conference on Satellite Communications (CETS), convened for the first time in May 1963, ceased activity in 1970.

Statutes registered in 'UNTS 1/215241'.


Shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

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ESA activities are defined in 'Article II, Purpose, Convention of establishment of a European Space Agency, SP-1271(E), 2003' which states:

 • ESA's purpose shall be to provide for, and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems: by elaborating and implementing a long-term European space policy, by recommending space objectives to the Member States, and by concerting the policies of the Member States with respect to other national and international organisations and institutions; by elaborating and implementing activities and programmes in the space field; by coordinating the European space programme and national programmes, and by integrating the latter progressively and as completely as possible into the European space programme, in particular as regards the development of applications satellites; by elaborating and implementing the industrial policy appropriate to its programme and by recommending a coherent industrial policy to the Member States.


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English, French, German.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 12 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 21 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 31 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Social Activity
    • Agency
  • Transportation, Telecommunications
    • Aerospace, Space

UN Sustainable Development Goals **



Last News Received

22. Oct 2019
* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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