The Erasmus Centre

Virtual Reality Theatre

The Erasmus Centre is located in the Erasmus Building at ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The centre is a showcase for the programmes and missions of the Directorate of Human Spaceflight. Its role is to inform and advise institutional and commercial users interested in making use of the Directorate's space platforms and ground-based facilities.


There is a wealth of information available at the Erasmus Centre that can help potential experimenters, payload developers and others to learn more about the research facilities operated by the Directorate:

  • Erasmus Experiment Archive - a comprehensive database of experiment records based on ESA-funded or co-funded experiments that have been performed on various space platforms and microgravity ground-based facilities.

  • European Users Guide to Low Gravity Platforms - provides an overview of the five low gravity platforms sponsored by ESA, including details of how they are made available to people wishing to use them for either scientific, educational or commercial purposes.

  • High Bay - a 900 m2 exhibition area in which potential users and researchers can familiarise themselves with various experiment facilities. The display includes a 1/10 scale model of the complete International Space Station, and full size models of ESA's Columbus laboratory and Russia's Zvezda module. Also in the High Bay are a Russian Foton capsule and a Texus sounding rocket which have both flown in space, a parabolic flight demonstrator, a drop tower demonstration model and training modules for practical demonstration and familiarisation of the main Columbus experiment facilities.

  • Multimedia Library - workstations provide access to electronic documents, databases, multimedia records, computer models, video records and space data. A large video display enables information to be shared by groups of users. The Multimedia Library is ideal for cooperative work between groups of up to 20 people.

  • Auditorium - a general-purpose area that can host events with up to 120 people.

  • TV Studio - a fully equipped television studio that is used for the production of videos (e.g. Human Spaceflight Mission Highlights, educational DVD’s, interviews and support to external TV crews).

  • Virtual Reality Theatre - potential users can see a realistic 3D graphic representation of the International Space Station in combination with unique high-resolution 3D pictures. The theatre can host up to 25 visitors.

  • Streaming video - during human spaceflight missions and other important events, the Erasmus Centre provides live video broadcasts via web streaming, including reports by specialist commentators. Educational content (e.g. the astrobiology university lecture series) is also offered via this service.

  • Photo and Video Archive - a database of photographs and video material covering a wide range of the Directorate's activities.


The Erasmus Centre is used by many different groups and for many different purposes:

  • Scientists interested in using microgravity facilities for their research;
  • Project engineers and managers involved in the development, building or operation of microgravity research experiments;
  • Scientists and engineers at the European User Support and Operations Centres (USOCs) who deal with the utilisation of such experiments;
  • Politicians who want to learn more about particular research activities or future transportation and exploration programmes;
  • Students in search of reference material or career guidance information;
  • Teachers, media and members of the public with an interest in space research.
  • Media representatives that need background and/or multimedia material for their video productions.

How can we help?

The Erasmus Centre has a mandate to inform and advise institutional and commercial users who want to learn more about microgravity research. This is done in a number of ways:

  • Promoting awareness of ESA's microgravity programmes and their potential uses through fact sheets, brochures, lectures, exhibitions, video conferences, web streaming, guided tours, databases, archives and 3-D virtual reality products.
  • Providing information about microgravity flight systems, the various space- and ground-based microgravity facilities currently available, and previous microgravity experiments.
  • Offering advice and guidance on the administrative and operational steps involved in submitting and developing an experiment, via the European User Guide to Low-Gravity Platforms.
  • Providing support through access to staff who are aware of the latest research proposals and developments, and by facilitating links between institutional and industrial researchers.

For further information please contact:

The Erasmus Centre
Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations
Keplerlaan 1
NL-2001 AZ Noordwijk
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)71 565 3466
Fax: +31 (0)71 565 8008
Email: Massimo.Sabbatini @

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