Since 1975 the European Space Agency, ESA, has been pooling the resources of its Member States and leading cooperation with other nations to build a European space capability, undertaking programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member. Canada takes part in certain programmes under a cooperation agreement.
ESA has signed European Cooperating States Agreements with Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Cyprus and cooperation agreements with Malta and Croatia.