ESA establishments

ESA Headquarters

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Exploring space is very interesting and we can learn a lot from it, but it is also very difficult and expensive. It needs a lot of clever people to work in the team.

ESA has over 2000 people working in its six main centres and smaller offices around the world.

ESA’s headquarters are in Paris, France. This is where all the main decisions are made. ESA's activities are then organised into different sections, such as human spaceflight, Earth observation and science.

The biggest of all the sites is the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. This is where ESA’s satellites are designed and tested. It is also where most of the planning for space exploration and human spaceflight takes place.


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Tracking European spacecraft is done by the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), based in Germany.

The European Astronaut Centre (EAC), also in Germany, is where astronauts are trained for missions to the International Space Station.

ESRIN , near Rome, Italy, plans ESA’s Earth observation activities, like looking at climate change and the weather.

The European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), in Spain, is where ESA’s space telescopes are controlled from and where all of ESA’s scientific data are kept.

Last modified 20 January 2012

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