ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,200 in 2018 and an annual budget of about €5.72 billion (~US$6.43 billion) in 2019. ESA's space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module, that will fly on the Space Launch System.

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Then There Were 3: NASA to Collaborate on ESA’s New Venus Mission

“As a key partner in the mission, NASA provides the synthetic aperture radar, called VenSAR, to make high-resolution measurements of the planet’s surface features. On June 10, 2021, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced the selection of EnVision as …

Galileo satellites’ last step before launch

“Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation constellation is set to grow. Later this year the first two out of 12 ‘Batch 3’ Galileo satellites will be launched by Soyuz from French Guiana. Their last step on the way to launch is …

Sentinel-6 passes in-orbit tests with flying colours

“In November 2020, the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched into orbit from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. Now, months later, the satellite has successfully passed what is known as the ‘in-orbit verification phase’, where its …

Propelling satellites into the future

“Candidate ‘green’ satellite propellants within a temperature-controlled incubator, undergoing heating as a way to simulate the speeding up of time. Today hydrazine is the most common propellant employed by thrusters aboard satellites: it is highly energetic in nature but also …

Shape-shifting mirror

“This bendable space mirror can have its shape shifted to compensate for manufacturing or alignment errors within orbital telescopes or temperature-driven distortions. Very large space telescopes are necessary to increase image resolution and sensitivity, whether for deep space exoplanet detection …

Microwave lenses harnessed for multi-beam forming

“This highly compact beam forming network has been designed for multi-beam satellite payload antennas. Generating a total of 64 signal beams outputted from a single antenna, this novel design could cover the entire Earth with multiple spot beams from geostationary …

Natural fibres threaded into satellites for safer missions

“A natural fibre that once wrapped early Egyptian mummies and was worn by Roman aristocrats has found a space-age purpose. Threading fibres from the flax plant through satellite panel material can help space missions burn up more rapidly during atmospheric …

Plans underway for new polar ice and snow topography mission

“Monitoring the cryosphere is essential to fully assess, predict and adapt to climate variability and change. Given the importance of this fragile component of the Earth system, today ESA, along with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, have …

Ariane 5’s third launch of 2020

“Europe’s Ariane 5 has delivered two telecom satellites Galaxy-30 and BSAT-4B, and the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2), into their planned transfer orbits. There are also four notable updates to the launch vehicle. Arianespace announced liftoff at 23 …

Proba-V passes the torch

“ESA’s cubic-metre-sized Proba-V minisatellite, seen left, has ended its seven-year global mission to monitor the daily growth of all Earth’s vegetation, a task being taken up by Copernicus Sentinel-3 instead, seen right. Proba-V was launched in 2013 to …