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N° 48–2014: Press Breakfast with ESA’s Director General

18 December 2014

On Friday, 16 January, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain will meet the press to provide an overview of ESA’s achievements in 2014 and the opportunities ahead in 2015.

The event will take place at ESA headquarters: 8 rue Mario Nikis, 75015 Paris, France. The briefing begins at 09:00 CET; doors open at 08:30 CET.

After a successful Council meeting at Ministerial level, held on 2 December, 2015 will be another year when ESA launches missions that cover all the domains of the space sector, in partnership and cooperation with other European institutions and industry, demonstrating the strength of the European space programme.

Within human spaceflight, the year will start with the undocking from the International Space Station of ATVGeorges Lemaîtreand reentry into the atmosphere. ATV-5 is the last of the series of five, completing the highly successful programme.

The Space Station will see three European astronauts this year. Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian female astronaut, is already working on the orbiting research complex and will return to Earth in May. ESA’s Danish astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, will join the Station in September for a 10-day mission, followed by his British colleague, Tim Peake, who will lift off in November for a long-duration flight of six months.

Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana will see several launches through the year on Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega for commercial and governmental customers.

A highlight is the launch of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), scheduled for 11 February. The suborbital mission will test the technologies and critical systems for Europe’s future autonomous controlled reentry missions from low orbit.

Rosetta captured the world’s imagination in 2014, and will continue to hold our attention in 2015 as the mission unveils some of its discoveries. Scientists are also eagerly awaiting the launch of a new mission, LISA Pathfinder, that aims at improving our knowledge of the Universe by demonstrating the technology for detecting gravitational waves, paving the way for a future full LISA mission.

ESA’s many strong partnerships will result in several launches during the year.

Within telecommunications, the year will see two new public–private partnerships projects launched into space.

The European Data Relay System, a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence & Space, will have its first payload (EDRS-A) launched before summer, hosted on a satellite operated by Eutelsat. EDRS, relaying data from satellites in non-geostationary orbit, will dramatically increase the speed of transmission, allowing for near-realtime services on a global scale.

It will be followed by the launch of SmallGEO in the second half of  2015. SmallGEO is a general-purpose modular geostationary platform that is giving European industry the opportunity to play a significant role in the commercial telecom market.

SmallGEO’s first use is for Hispasat’s Advanced Generation 1 (AG1) satellite, a public–private partnership between ESA and the Spanish operator which will provide Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and the Americas with faster multimedia services.

2015 will also be an important year in the deployment of the Copernicus and Galileo satellite constellations, developed by ESA in cooperation with the EU.

The year will see the launches of the next six Galileo satellites, bringing the total to 12 navigation satellites in orbit.

The Copernicus Earth observation programme will see the launches of Sentinel‑2A and Sentinel-3A. Sentinel-2A will deliver high-resolution optical images, while Sentinel-3A will monitor land and ocean surfaces.

Earth observation will also see a launch under another important cooperation: Eumetsat’s Meteosat weather satellite fleet will be strengthened by the launch of MSG-4.

The Director General’s briefing will be webstreamed at

Media representatives wishing to attend are requested to register by email at:

How to get to ESA HQ Mario Nikis

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 53 69 72 99