ESA maintains a Europe-wide network of specialised laboratories supplementing the technical services and competence provided by the ESTEC laboratories and the ESTEC Test Centre.
These specialist centres of excellence provide important benefits to European space programmes and industrial competitiveness, and continued access to these facilities is essential for Europe's space sector.
Dedicated large-scale facilities supplementing those of the ESTEC Test Centre are also supported:
- Centre Spatial de Liége (BE) – Institute for space technology reserach and testing specialized in optics. It is equipped with a series of space simulators able to perform vacuum, thermal and vibration testing of instruments or spacecraft involving optical elements or detectors.
- Magnetic Field Simulation Facility (MFSA) at IABG Ottobrunn (DE) – Within this facility, instruments and spacecraft can be exposed to an artificially generated magnetic field to assess their magnetic properties. This service is important for satellites with magnetic-related mission properties, such as ESA's Swarm mission set to map variations in Earth's magnetosphere, which must remain magnetically 'clean' so as not to interfere with results.