Establishments and facilities
ESA has its headquarters in Paris. The Director General and cabinet have their offices here, as do some of the ESA Programme Directors. The decisions that shape ESA’s present and future activities are made here.
The European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is the largest ESA establishment, a test centre and hub for European space activities, responsible for the technical preparation and management of ESA space projects and providing technical support to ESA’s satellite, space exploration and human spaceflight activities.
The European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, ensures the smooth working of spacecraft in orbit. Its control rooms, linked to ground stations all over the world, track and control satellites, and carry out payload operations and routine systems monitoring.
ESA’s centre for Earth observation in Frascati, near Rome, manages the ground segment for ESA and third-party Earth observation satellites, maintaining the largest archive of environmental data in Europe and coordinating over 20 ground stations and ground segment facilities in Europe. It also hosts the project team managing the Vega small-launcher programme.
The European Astronaut Centre located in Cologne, Germany, is a training facility and home base for all European astronauts. It is a centre of excellence for astronaut training and medical support.
The European Space Astronomy Centre, at Villanueva de la Cañada, near Madrid in Spain, hosts the scientific operations centres for ESA's astronomy and planetary missions, along with their scientific archives. It provides services to astronomical research projects worldwide.
Guiana Space Centre (CSG)
Kourou, in French Guiana, is Europe’s gateway to space. Covering over 96 000 hectares, CSG is ideally sited for launching satellites, in particular because it is close to the equator. ESA is the owner of the launch and launcher production facilities and finances a significant part of the fixed costs of the launch base.
ESA's Redu Centre in Belgium is responsible for controlling and testing a range of satellites as part of ESA’s ground station network. It is also home to the Space Weather Data Centre (as part of the ESA's Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Programme).
The European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications, in Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK, is supporting activities related to telecommunications, integrated applications, climate change, technology and science.
Last update: 24 January 2014