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N° 1–2015: ESA activities in 2015 of interest to media

16 January 2015

ESA is one of the few space agencies in the world to combine competences and responsibilities for all domains of space, from science to applications.

The main events of interest to media are detailed below. Check the ESA website’s media section at and the associated media calendar for updates.

Main corporate events

Director General’s Annual Press Conference

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain will meet the press at the traditional start-of-year briefing on the activities and challenges for 2015.

Location: ESA HQ, Paris (France), Date: 16 January, 08:30–10:30 


51st International Paris Air & Space Show

ESA will be present in the world's largest air and space exhibition with a space pavilion. A media event will be organised.

Location: Le Bourget, Paris (France), Date: 15–21 June


COP 21 Conference on Climate

A special communication effort will centre around the ‘Climate Change Initiative’ as part of the COP 21 meeting.

Location: Paris (France), Date: 30 November – 11 December


Science and Robotic exploration

Rosetta scientific findings

Rosetta will escort Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimanko on its closest approach to the Sun and beyond throughout the whole year. It will observe the warming comet and collect unprecedented scientific data on the changes experienced by the nucleus. A media event will highlight the scientific findings so far on the occasion of the closest approach to the Sun.

Location: ESOC, Darmstadt (Germany), Date: mid-August


BepiColombo media day

In 2015, ESA’s Mercury explorer will undergo thorough testing at ESTEC ahead of the launch campaign. An international media event will present the flight hardware and the mission.

Location: ESTEC, Noordwijk (The Netherlands), Date: mid-August


Launch of LISA Pathfinder

LISA Pathfinder is a technology mission aiming at testing the advanced measurement devices of low-frequency gravitational waves for the future LISA mission. It will be launched on a Vega rocket.

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana), Expected date: September


Human Spaceflight

End of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) programme

The undocking and reentry of ATVGeorges Lemaitrewill mark the end of the series of ESA vessels that has delivered cargo to the International Space Station, including food, drinking water, gases, research and maintenance equipment and around three tonnes of propellants each time. The versatile craft has also regularly boosted the Station’s orbit and occasionally manoeuvred the complex to avoid collisions with space debris. There will be no more ATVs but the technology will live on as part of the service module provided by ESA for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Location: ATV Control Centre, Toulouse (France), Expected date: 27 February


Landing of ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

After completing her six-month Futura mission on the International Space Station, Samantha Cristoforetti will land on the steppes of Kazakhstan. 

Location: Baikonour Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), Date: 12 May


Mission of ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen

Andreas Mogensen is assigned to fly to the International Space Station on a 10-day mission. The mission name is iriss. 


  • Location: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
  • Expected date: 1 September


  • Location: Kazakhstan
  • Expected date: 11 September


Launch of ESA astronaut Tim Peake

Tim Peake is assigned to fly on the International Space Station from November to May for Expeditions 46 and 47. The mission name is Principia.

Location: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan; main event in London, in cooperation with UK Space Agency, Expected date: 20 November


Earth Observation

Earth Explorers data contribution to COP 21 Conference

Satellite observations provide vital support for future action on climate mitigation and adaptation, with satellites enabling major advancements to climate science and models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As a strong supporter and official Observer to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP21, ESA will communicate the results of its Earth Explorers research satellites providing new insights into the climate change process.

Location: Paris, Date: 30 November – 11 December


Launch of Sentinel-2A: colour vision for Copernicus

The launch of the second Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-2A, will be on a Vega rocket. Copernicus is a joint initiative of ESA and the European Commission, where ESA is responsible for the satellite missions and data delivery. Sentinel-2 is a multispectral optical mission capable of providing high-resolution data in 13 different channels with a pixel size of up to 10 m on the ground. The satellite will focus on monitoring changes in vegetation and coastal areas and is also suited to supporting disaster management during floods and earthquakes, and will provide information for supporting humanitarian aid activities.

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana), Expected date: launch window between 1 and 31 May


Launch: Meteosat Second Generation-4

The Meteosat Second Generation satellites were developed and built by ESA and are owned and exploited by Eumetsat, fulfilling user requirements for improved weather prediction. MSG-4 will continue the successful series of operational meteorological satellites that started with Meteosat-1 in 1977. The first satellite, MSG-1, with its improved capabilities, was launched in 2002, followed by MSG-2 in December 2005, and MSG-3 in 2012. MSG-4 will be launched on an Ariane 5.

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana). Date: 15 June


Launch of Sentinel-3A: the bigger picture for Copernicus

The launch of the third Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-3A, will be on a Rockot vehicle. Copernicus is a joint initiative of ESA and the European Commission, where ESA is responsible for the satellite missions and data delivery. Sentinel-3 will measure sea-surface topography, sea- and land-surface temperature and ocean- and land-surface colour with high accuracy and reliability in support of ocean forecasting systems, and for environmental and climate monitoring.

Location: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, Expected date: fall 2015


Telecommunications and Integrated Applications

Launch of EDRS-A

EDRS (European Data Relay System) will relay data from satellites in non-geostationary orbits, dramatically increasing the speed of data transmission, allowing for near-realtime services on a global scale.

EDRS-A will be launched as part of the Eutelsat-9b satellite on a Proton rocket.

Location: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan , Expected date: before summer


Launch of AG1

AG1 is a PPP between Hispasat and ESA based on the SmallGEO platform developed by OHB for ESA. AG1 will be launched on an Ariane 5.

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana), Expected date: last quarter


Navigation programme

Launch of Galileo satellites

2015 will see the continuing launches of satellites to build the constellation. Six satellites will be ready for launch in 2015. The launch sequence is under evaluation and will be decided by the European Commission.

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana)  



Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) mission

IXV is a cornerstone for a wide range of applications in future space transportation, providing the expertise for developing future reentry craft. The launch will also demonstrate the flexibility and capabilities of the Vega launch system, carrying a payload of two tonnes in the first equatorial, suborbital flight. Two press points of special interest: 

  • Launch

Location: CSG, Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana); main event in Torino, Italy, in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space
Date: 11 February

  • Mission results

Location: ESA-HQ Daumesnil, Paris (France)
Expected date: six weeks after launch


About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, are likely soon to become new ESA Member States.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with six other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office


Tel: +33 1 5369 7299