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ESA / Education
Earth Observation
ESA's Earth observation satellites help us understand what is happening to our planet. Satellites are unique in their ability to constantly monitor the entire Earth: they can provide crucial information about our ever-changing planet. From space, we monitor many natural and man-made events from floods and forest fires, to changes in ice cover, rising sea levels and oil slicks.

Human Spaceflight


European astronauts have been taking part in manned space missions for nearly three decades. Many have already flown on missions to the ISS, playing a vital role in the assembly and operation of key elements of the station. They also carry out research in microgravity conditions, delivering results that cannot be achieved here on Earth.



Self-sufficiency in sending satellites into orbit is vital for Europe's independence in space. Since the beginning of the Ariane programme in 1973, a highly successful series of launchers has been developed. For the future, ESA is reviewing new technologies and propulsion systems with experts from Europe's aerospace industry, to make access to space simpler and cheaper.



After mobile phones and the internet, satellite navigation is the latest high-tech addition to our everyday lives. Spacecraft orbiting Earth can tell you exactly where you are, 24 hours a day. Furthermore, air traffic control, shipping, rescue operations, crisis management and law enforcement services have all been revolutionised by more accurate and reliable positioning systems.

Science and robotic exploration


ESA's Cosmic Vision programme is a starting point for crucial studies in space science. Several fundamental themes lie at its core:
- the conditions for planetary formation and the emergence of life
- how the Solar System works
- the fundamental physical laws of the Universe
- the origins of the Universe and what it is made of



ESA's technology programmes cover different domains to ensure that spacecraft can operate for years in the unforgiving space environment. Our experts work closely with European industry in developing and testing sophisticated technologies needed to make future missions and applications possible.

Telecommunications and integrated applications


Global communications underpin modern society and represent an important commercial sector. By promoting the research and development of a wide range of new technologies and system concepts, ESA's Telecommunications Programme aims to provide solutions to a wide range of needs and challenges faced by citizens and society at large.

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