The European Space Agency

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The European Space Agency (ESA) was started in 1975, and is made up of 22 countries. Most of these countries are too small to take part in big space projects on their own.

By working together as a team, they can play an important part in many different space activities.

European countries now make some of the most important rockets and satellites in the world. ESA countries are also leaders in building satellites. These are the companies that help to design, build, test and launch satellites, helping to make our lives back on Earth much better. European satellites are used by millions of people every day. They show us what the weather will be doing, how land is used and how to find our way on the roads. We also use them for telephones and astronomy.

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ESA has 22 Member States, marked in dark grey. The national bodies responsible for space in these countries sit on ESA’s governing Council: Austria, Belgium, 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.

Marked in mid grey: Canada also sits on the Council and takes part in some projects under a Cooperation Agreement. Slovenia is an Associate Member. Seven other EU states have Cooperation Agreements with ESA: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia.

Last modified 13 December 2018

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