ESA/ESTEC receives ISO accreditation for technical competence

Large Vacuum Facility
Large Vacuum Facility
22 June 2004

ESA/ESTEC has been awarded ISO 17025 accreditation by the Dutch Accreditation Council RvA, a recognition of the excellent standards of technical competence of ESA's Mechanical Engineering Department.

In October 2002, an 18-month internal project was initiated within ESA's Mechanical Engineering Department at ESTEC, Noordwijk (NL) to achieve ISO 17025 accreditation for laboratories and ISO 9001 certification for a number of the technical facilities. The purpose of this voluntary exercise was to make progress in the area of quality management and to acquire greater recognition in terms of technical competence through adherence to recognised international standards.

The Accreditation of the laboratories guarantees the accuracy of their results to international standards and was achieved by formalising and adapting existing procedures, and developing of new ones in a manner compatible with international practices. The ISO 9001 Certification process ensured management involvement and supported the technical competence required by the Accreditation process. ISO 9001 Certification, which is being considered for the whole of the Agency, was awarded to the ESA Propulsion Laboratory, Automation and Robotics Laboratory, and Engineering Services in February 2004.

The corona test facility
The corona test facility

The Accreditation was performed by the Raad Voor Accreditatie (RvA), one of the two oldest Accreditation Bodies worldwide. They are unique national entities that operate as Accreditors of organisations and laboratories and are empowered to oversee ISO 9001 Certification.

ISO 17025 was awarded to the Mechanical Systems Laboratory, the ESA Propulsion Laboratory, the Optics Laboratory, the General Instruments Laboratory and the Metrology Laboratory. An award ceremony was held at ESTEC on 27 May 2004 in the presence of RvA Chief Executive Officer Mr. J.J van der Poel and Mr. C. de Ruiter, Lead Auditor of RvA. Mr. M. Courtois the Director of ESTEC presented the awards for achievement.

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