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N° 71–2001: ESA's Earth observation application activities certified to ISO 9001

28 November 2001

Today Antonio Rodotà, Director General of the European Space Agency, accepted the ISO 9001 Certificate from National Quality Assurance (NQA), an accredited third-party certification body, on behalf of the Earth Observation Applications Department at the ESA/ESRIN establishment in Frascati, Italy.

The Earth Observation Applications Department joins ESA's Operations Centre, ESOC, which was certified in 1999, making ESA the first space agency in Europe to have one of its facilities certified to ISO 9001, the International Quality Management System Standard.

Certification of ESA's Earth observation applications activities warrants that products and services offered by ESA in this field meet user requirements and expectations. In addition, implementation of ISO 9001 procedures will increase efficiency of work processes with the ultimate aim of increasing confidence among customers and partners.

"The European Space Agency has shown a high degree of commitment to quality and efficiency in the field of data acquisition, processing and archiving and in the development, in partnership with industry, of Earth observation products and services geared to users' requirements," stated Antonio Rodotà. " The granting of ISO 9001 certification will increase the Department's efficiency and also its flexibility in reacting to change".

To achieve this recognition, ESRIN put in place documented procedures covering all aspects of its activities. These relate to ground segment engineering and operations, multi-mission data handling, Earth observation user support activities, project management, interfacing with principal investigators for Earth observation missions, and promotion and training. To ensure that the procedures were correctly followed, extensive training was provided to all staff and briefing sessions were organised on the ISO 9001 certification process. NQA will regularly check the operation of the quality management system and verify that it emains in compliance with the ISO 9001 standard.

Customers of ESRIN can now have greater confidence in the quality of products and services provided by the Centre, resulting from:

- closer focus on their requirements,

- clearly defined and transparent procedures and responsibilities,

- formalised systems to ensure consistent quality and punctual delivery,

- improved communication with customers and suppliers.

Note to Editors:

ISO 9001 is one of a series of standards that define a framework of minimum requirements for the development and implementation of quality systems.These standards have been adopted worldwide as suitable criteria for assessment and registration of companies by independent accredited third-party organisations, called Certification Bodies (in Europe) or Registrars (in the USA).

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from over 100 countries. ISO is a Swiss-based non-governmental organisation established in 1947. Its mission is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. ISO's work results in international agreements that are published as International Standards.

For further information:

Simonetta Cheli

Head of Public and Institutional Relations Office, ESRIN

Tel: +39 06 94180350

Fax: +39 06 94180352

For further information:

Media Relations Office
Tel: +33(0)1.53.697155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690



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