About ESA Washington

Four generations of Heads of the ESA Washington Office

ESA's Washington Office represents the Agency in the United States and in Canada. It is ESA’s oldest overseas office, initially set up in early 1970s to support the Spacelab negotiations and then reorganised as a general liaison office.

The Office represents ESA at all relevant levels before the governments of the United States and Canada, as well as before agencies and entities of these two nations.

Its primary roles are to inform ESA about major space-related developments taking place in these two countries, to support ongoing and future cooperation and to coordinate related actions. As part of the latter function, the Office works closely with Member States, the European Commission, and European industry representatives posted in the United States and Canada.

Roles and responsibilities

ESA Washington Office

The Washington Office supports all ESA staff working in the United States, in particular helping with procedural interaction with the United States government in the context of their assigned functions.

Last but not least, the Office contributes to the promotion of ESA’s programmes and activities in the United States and Canada.

Cooperation with the United States

Cooperation with the United States in civil space is the oldest and the largest. The content of the transatlantic space cooperation has expanded over the years, encompassing many disciplines and several partners, with projects implemented in a bilateral or a multilateral context.

Today, transatlantic cooperation extends to most of ESA’s programmes, namely:

  1. Space science
  2. Human spaceflight
  3. Satellite navigation
  4. Meteorology
  5. Earth science/ Earth observation (other than meteorology)
  6. Space exploration

Transatlantic dialogue

The transatlantic dialogue takes place at all levels.  Formal interaction between the ESA DG and the NASA Administrator happens at every opportunity (ISS Heads of Agency meetings, international conferences, air shows, launches) and of course as the events warrant it. If the ESA Washington Office and the International Relations Department in ESA HQ are the main entrance points, today there are regular and multiple exchanges at higher management but also at technical levels.

ESA and other organisations in the United States

ESA maintains contacts with the US government at large but its main partner agencies are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Geological Survey (USGS).

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