The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to 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. ESA is an international organization with 22 Member States. There are around 2200 staff working for ESA, from all the Member States and include scientists, engineers, information technology specialists and administrative personnel. ESA’s job is to draw up the European space programme and carry it through. ESA’s programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and services, and to promote European industries. ESA also works closely with space organizations outside Europe.
ESA’s headquarters are in Paris which is where policies and programmes are decided. ESA also has sites in a number of European countries, each of which has different 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;
- ESA Redu Centre, Belgium.