The European Centre for Space Records (ECSR) was established at ESRIN in 2002. Its original purpose was to house a large collection of archive material originating from ESTEC, but it soon established itself as the main repository for documentation of all ESA establishments.
Throughout the years the centre has developed a rich archive comprising collections such as Envisat, Rosetta, Artemis, ISO, MSG, Cluster, ERS, SOHO and XMM, to name but a few. The centre also hosts all signed original contracts and has a substantial collection of negatives and photographs as well as a large collection of microfiche and some artefacts.
Recently the centre has taken delivery of documentation coming from ESA Headquarters after the closing of the Mario Nikis site. Collections span the entire history of the Agency: from its beginnings in 1959 stemming from an idea of Edoardi Amaldi and Pierre Auger, through the ESRO and ELDO years, to the establishment of ESA in 1975 and the years following.
The historical archives of ESA are kept at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), based at the European University Institute in Florence. These collections form the institutional memory of the Agency and enable us to utilise and celebrate the rich heritage of ESA for the good of the Agency, its member states, and the wider research community.
Since the beginning of May 2019 the ESA Historical Archives are available online to the public where the digitised paper documents of ESA and its predecessor organisations CETS, COPERS, ELDO, ESC and ESRO can be accessed via the HAEU website.
In the early years, deposits received at the ECSR were only paper files. Today the centre holds an impressive 6 linear kilometres of documents. However, the digital age has well and truly taken over, and these days more and more electronic files are received. The centre is now facing the challenge of transforming the paper archives into digital files, which will make them even more accessible and easy to search.
How we can help you
The Records Management and Archives Team of the Director General’s Cabinet is responsible for the management of records and archives across the Agency. The team is present in three establishments: ESA HQ in Paris; ESRIN in Frascati, Italy and ESTEC in the Netherlands.
The team has more than 20 years of experience working with the ESA Archives and can help you with your research, from locating the hardest to find piece of information to supporting you in putting in place a successful digitisation project. The team also offers ‘digitisation’ services of high quality that are compliant with preservation standards and guidelines.
If you have any questions or need advice on how to manage your records and archives, or if you would like to visit the ECSR, contact us at: