European Space Agency (ESA)

Agence spatiale européenne
Organismo Espacial Europeo

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Established when came into 'de facto' operation on signature of the ESA Convention, following meeting of ministers of 10 European countries, Jul 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/: H-XM7302 - 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 H-XM7301 - 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 Jun 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). U-XM7303 - European Space Conference (ECS) was formed in 1966. H-XH0697 - European Conference on Satellite Communications, 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.


2024-10-01 | Trieste, Italy – European Big Science Business Forum

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Council (policy-making body) comprises representatives of member states, each state having 1 vote (only states participating in an optional programme may vote on that programme). Council may also meet at ministerial level. Committees (5): Science Programme; Administrative and Finance; International Relations; Industrial Policy; Security. Specialized Boards oversee management of specific ESA programmes. Council appoints Director General for 4-year term as chief executive and legal representative of the Agency, who is assisted by: 10 Directors - Earth Observation (EOP); Technical and Quality Management (TEC); Launcher (LAU); Human Spaceflight; Resources Management (RES); Legal Affairs and External Relations; Science and Robotic Exploration; Telecommunications and Integrated Applications; Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities; Operations and Infrastructure. Programme Boards (6): Satellite Communications; Earth Observation; Launchers; Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration; Navigation; Space Situational Awareness. Head of Cabinet. Headquarters in Paris (France). Establishments and sites: E-XE7353 - European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC); E-XE7412 - European Space Operations Centre (ESOC); E-XE6746 - ESRIN; European Space Security and Education Centre (ESEC); European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT). Offices: Brussels (Belgium); Moscow (Russia); Washington DC (USA).


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