ESA title
Mr Dordain, ESA Director General

Achievements since Ministerial Council 2008: Director General’s review

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ESA / About Us / Ministerial Council 2012

Collective European successes in space since the 2008 Ministerial Council are many, and are the result of a sustained commitment by Member States, researchers, industry and other stakeholders.

Decisions taken years ago and supported through continuous commitment by Member States have borne their fruits, at all levels.

2008 was a particularly key year, as Ministers reinforced their trust in ESA and in its programme proposals. In a context of already dim forecasts for the economy, they agreed on a budget nearing €10 billion, showing their deeply rooted conviction that space boosts growth, innovation and knowledge for the benefit of European citizens.

As a result of this steady support to ESA, 2009–2012 is an unprecedented period marked by achievements in number, in quality and in relevance to the economy and society, by contributing to increasing knowledge, fostering innovation and competitiveness of the European industrial sector and enabling services.

Highlights 2008-2012


Increasing knowledge Fostering innovation & competitiveness Enabling services
Launch of Herschel and Planck missions Launch of Hylas-1 Launch of Metop-B
Launch of Goce , SMOS & Cryosat-2 Launch of Proba-2 Launch of MSG-3
Rosetta pursued its flight and operations, and entered hibernation in deep space Satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) programme initiated EGNOS became operational
Completion of Mars500 study Qualification launch of Vega & 1st Soyuz launch from French Guiana Launch of first two Galileo satellites
More than 100 experiments performed in Columbus lab (ISS) 52 successful Ariane 5 launches in a row 10 years of service for Envisat
Selection of 6 new ESA astronauts & F. De Winne became 1st European Commander of ISS Technological breakthroughs achieved through Technology programmes A decade of effective operation of the International Charter on 'Space and Major Disasters'
Installation of Tranquility node with Cupola on ISS Alphabus platform approved for launch on Alphasat in 2013 43 feasibility studies and 19 demonstration projects initiated by IAP
Completion of ATV-2 & ATV-3 missions Programmatic decisions taken on exploitation of Ariane 5, ISS and continuation of EDRS programme Elaboration of GMES services with the EU
Observation & analysis of solar events with SOHO Proba-2 & Solar Weather Expert Service Centre ESA BICs provided opportunities and innovative ideas to use space technology in non-space fields Network and ground operations cross-support to China, Russia & US

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