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Aerial view of ESRIN

ESRIN overview

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ESA / About Us / ESRIN

ESRIN, known as the ESA Centre for Earth Observation, is one of the five ESA specialised centres situated in Europe. Located in Frascati, a small town 20 km south of Rome in Italy, ESRIN was established in 1966 and first began acquiring data from environmental satellites in the 1970s.

Earth observation

Earth Observation data has grown in importance as more and more international and national agencies recognise the many uses to which it can be put. Satellites for Earth observation keep a constant watch over the Earth and the data they provide help to safeguard the planet in which we live.

Since 2004, ESRIN has been the headquarters for ESA's Earth Observation activities. Dr Aschbacher, the Head of ESRIN, is also the Director of Earth Observation.

A multi-faceted centre

Envisat building
Envisat building

A number of other activities are also carried out at ESRIN, each of which is making an important contribution to ESA’s work.

  • Vega Programme: the management team for Europe’s new small-scale launcher
  • Information systems: the design, development, provision and maintenance of the information systems and software used by the Agency
  • Telecom lab: providing European industry and institutions with easier access to space telecom infrastructure
  • European Centre for Space Records: appraising and preserving the valuable technical records of completed ESA projects
  • ESA Web Portal: keeping the public informed about ESA’s many activities
  • Virtual Reality Theatre: visual presentations of complex Earth Observation and geographic data for both specialists and students

How ESRIN works

ESRIN acts as an interface between ESA and those who use its services. The centre has close links with European industry, the European Union and the civil protection, agriculture and environment ministries within ESA Member States.

Armillary sphere at ESRIN
Armillary sphere at ESRIN

ESRIN also cooperates with international organisations including UN agencies and the European Commission, and plays an important role in many international projects. These include the Geosphere/Biosphere Programme, the Committee for Earth Observation Systems and the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.

In all its activities ESRIN pursues ESA’s objective of increasing interaction with users in order to develop new products and services, and support the competitiveness of the European space industry. ESRIN is helping to bring about a fertile mix between the two worlds of science and space applications for the benefit of all Europeans.

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