European Space Agency (ESA)

ESA, the European Space Agency, provides a vision of Europe’s future in space, and of the benefits for people on the ground that satellites can supply. It also develops the strategies needed to fulfil the vision, through collaborative projects in space science and technology. The development of powerful launchers and novel spacecraft is one method by which ESA operates. Another is by creative interaction with the national space agencies and aerospace industries in ESA’s 15 Member States. In an era when the US-Soviet space race of the Cold War has given way to worldwide cooperation in space, ESA speaks and acts for Europe on the global stage. ESA’s successes over more than a quarter of a century have altered its role. When the Agency came into existence in 1975, there was a desperate need to catch up. An attempt to develop a launching rocket for Europe had ended in failure. Europe’s scientists already had a good multinational programme, but usually they had to rely on the Americans or the Russians to launch their space experiments or small satellites for them.'