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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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 …

The Euclid space telescope is coming together

“ESA’s Euclid mission has reached another milestone on its journey towards launch. Its two instruments are now built and fully tested. These have been delivered to Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, where they are now being integrated …

FSSCat/Ф-sat-1 ready for launch

“The first artificial intelligence to be carried onboard a European Earth observation mission will be launched this week from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The pioneering artificial intelligence technology named ɸ-sat-1, pronounced PhiSat-1, will be the first experiment …

Data-relay satellite ready for service

“The second node in the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed is ready to go into service. Dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway”, the European Data Relay System (EDRS) helps Earth-observing satellites to transmit large quantities of potentially life-saving data to Europe …

Hubble Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary With A Tapestry Of Blazing Starbirth

“The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s iconic images and scientific breakthroughs have redefined our view of the Universe. To commemorate three decades of scientific discoveries, this image is one of the most photogenic examples of the many turbulent stellar …