ELDO/ESRO/ESA:
Key dates 1960-2014

1960

1 December - Intergovernmental conference at Meyrin, Switzerland, setting up a European Preparatory Commission for Space Research (COPERS)

1962

29 March - Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia (associate member) sign in London the Convention creating the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO)

14 June - Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom sign in Paris the Convention creating the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO). Approval given for ESLAR, an ESRO laboratory for advanced research to be located in Italy (later renamed ESRIN, European Space Research Institute)

1 November - Dr Alfred W. Lines (UK) nominated as Technical Director to head the European space technology centre. Under his authority, Mr A. Kesselring (CH) is named first Director of ESTEC in 1964

1963

1 January - Under Dr Sidney Shapcott (UK), later Director of Projects at ESTEC, planning of the ESTEC facility begins at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands

Autumn - European Space Data Analysis Centre (ESDAC) established in Darmstadt, Germany (renamed and repurposed as ESOC in 1967), headed by Stig Comet (SE)

1964

29 February - ELDO Convention comes into force

20 March - ESRO Convention enters into force

29 July - First Director of ESRIN, Hermann L. Jordan (DE) appointed

1965

1 March - Foundation pile laid for ESTEC in Noordwijk. The first major vacuum test facility is installed on 1 September

1966

 1 January - ESRIN is formed in Frascati, Italy. Staff are installed in temporary accommodation in the Park Hotel, Frascati. Foundation stone for the new building is laid in September 1968

1967

8 September - ESOC inaugurated by then Minister of Research of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gerhard Stoltenberg

1968

17 May - Launch of ESRO 2B intended to study cosmic rays and solar X-rays, the first successful satellite launch by ESRO

1971

20 December - First Package Deal which permits ESRO to pursue application programmes comes into effect

1973

12 and 31 July - Second Package Deal: The European Space Conference (ESC) meeting in Brussels decides the start of three new programmes: Spacelab, L3S (Ariane) and MAROTS and the creation of the European Space Agency (ESA)

1975

30 May - Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany (Federal Republic), Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom sign the Convention on the establishment of ESA

9 August - Launch of COS-B, first ESA mission to study gamma-ray sources

31 December - Ireland signs the ESA Convention and becomes ESA's 11th Member State

1977

13 May - Establishment of the Eutelsat (European Telecommunications Satellite Organization), an intergovernmental organisation by PTT administrations in Europe

23 November - Meteosat-1 is launched on a Thor Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral

1978

11 May - Launch of OTS-2 (Orbital Test Satellite-2), ESA's first comsat

1979

1 January - The first five-year Cooperation Agreement between Canada and ESA comes into effect

24 December - The first Ariane is launched from the Guiana Space Centre

1980

26 March - Arianespace, the world's first commercial space transportation company is created

3 July - Decision to upgrade Ariane to Ariane 3 designed to launch two satellites into GTO

1983

28 November - First Spacelab launch with Ulf Merbold, ESA's first astronaut on board the US Space Shuttle

1985

30-31 January - ESA Ministerial Council in Rome: ministers approve the start of preparatory work on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle

1986

13-14 March - Successful historic encounter of Giotto with Comet Halley

June - The Eumetsat Convention enters into force

1987

1 January - Austria and Norway become ESA's 12th and 13th Member States

9-10 November - ESA Ministerial Council in The Hague: ministers approve the development of Ariane 5

1988

29 September - Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the design, and development of the Space Station Freedom signed by ESA and NASA in Washington

15 June - Ariane 4 launched for the first time

1991

17 July - Launch of ERS-1

1995

1 January - Finland becomes ESA's 14th Member State

20 April - Launch of ERS-2

18-20 October - ESA Ministerial Council in Toulouse, France: ministers agree on the funding of Europe's contribution to the ISS

1996

4 June - Ariane 5's first test flight (Flight 501) fails and causes the loss of four Cluster spacecraft

1997

15 October - Cassini-Huygens launched from Cape Canaveral

1999

11-12 May - ESA Ministerial Council in Brussels which approved investments in major new programmes in the areas of telecommunications, navigation including the definition phase for the Galileo programme (in partnership with the European Union), and Earth observation

10 December - Launch of XMM-Newton by Ariane 5

2000

1 January - Portugal becomes ESA's 15th Member State

15 December - Approval of the development of the small launcher Vega

2002

1 March - Launch of Envisat by Ariane 5

11 March - Argentina signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

28 August - Launch of MSG-1 by Ariane 5

11 December - First launch of Ariane 5 ECA (failure)

2003

15 February - Last flight of an Ariane 4 after 116 flights

7 April - Hungary becomes first ESA European Cooperating State

2 June - Mars Express, Europe's first mission to the 'Red Planet', launched from Baikonur

27 September - SMART-1, Europe's first mission to the Moon, launched by Ariane 5

25 November - Signature of the Framework Agreement between ESA and the European Community in Brussels

2004

4 February - Approval of the programme to build a complex at the Guiana Space Centre for commercial Soyuz launches

2 March - Launch of Rosetta from Kourou

24 November - Czech Republic becomes second ESA European Cooperating State

25 November - First ESA/EU 'Space Council' in Brussels

2005

14 January - Historic landing of Huygens probe on Titan

12 February - First successful launch of Ariane 5 ECA

16 March - Greece becomes ESA's 16th Member State

30 June - Luxembourg becomes ESA’s 17th Member State

9 November - Venus Express launched from Baikonur on a Starsem Soyuz-Fregat launcher

5/6 December - ESA Ministerial Council meeting in Berlin

28 December - Launch of first Galileo test satellite (GIOVE-A)

2006

27 February - Romania becomes third ESA European Cooperating State

19 October - Launch of MetOp-A from Baikonur

2007

26 February - Inauguration of Soyuz launch pad in Kourou. BepiColombo, the mission to explore planet Mercury, definitively 'adopted' by ESA’s Science Programme Committee

4 May - Poland becomes fourth ESA European Cooperating State

22 May - A consensus of 29 ESA/EU countries adopt a Resolution on European Space Policy

23 October - ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Node-2 module launched to ISS

2008

11 February - Columbus installed on ISS

9 March - ESA launches first ATV resupply spacecraft to ISS

27 April - Launch of ESA's second Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element satellite GIOVE-B

28 April - Poland becomes fourth European Cooperating State

9 June - Slovenia signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

12 November - Czech Republic becomes 18th ESA Member State

25/26 November - ESA Ministerial Council in The Hague

2009

20 May - Six new ESA astronauts selected: two Italian, one French, one Dane, one German and one British

29 May - Sixth 'Space Council', Brussels

24 July - Latvia signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

27 August - Cyprus signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

10 November - Estonia becomes fifth European Cooperating State

2010

22 January - Slovenia becomes sixth European Cooperating State

12 February - European-built Node-3 and Cupola modules installed on ISS

8 April - ESA's 'ice mission', CryoSat-2, launched

28 April - Slovak Republic signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

3 June - Mars500, 520-day simulated mission to Mars begins

7 October - Lithuania signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

25 November - Seventh 'Space Council', Brussels

26 November - Hylas-1, ESA’s first PPP satellite launched

22 December - Romania becomes 19th ESA Member State

2011

31 January - Israel signs Cooperation Agreement with ESA

16 February - ESA's second ATV, ATV Johannes Kepler, launched to ISS

21 October - Soyuz lifts off for first time from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, carrying two Galileo IOV satellites

21 November - ESA’s Council grants observer status to 10 states that are members of the EU but not ESA: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

2012

20 February - Malta signs a Cooperation Agreement with ESA

23 March - ESA's third ATV, ATV Edoardo Amaldi launched to ISS

19 November - Poland formally becomes ESA's 20th Member State

20-21 November - Ministerial Council in Naples, ministers approve new launcher Ariane 6 and adapted Ariane 5 ME, and Europe will provide service module for NASA’s new Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle

18 December - New Deep Space Antenna station inaugurated at Malargüe, Argentina

Last update: 13 September 2013

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.