17 June 2013
“From the latest space ferry to the very first Alphasat, Europe has never been more active in space, with a crowded manifest of ESA launches across the rest of the year. But where are all these varied missions born? See for yourself this October, as ESA’s ESTEC research and technology centre opens its doors to the public.
ESTEC’s Space Expo visitor centre is open year-round but on 6 October this year, for one day only from 10:00 to 17:00, the entire establishment is being opened to the public – provided you book early enough.
No sooner has Luca Parmitano joined the International Space Station than ESA’s latest space truck is resupplying the orbital outpost. Meanwhile, the May-launched Proba-V is returning its first maps of global vegetation, while the high-power Alphasat telecoms satellite is being prepared for launch. The Gaia satellite will soon begin charting a billion stars in 3D in our Galaxy, while the next batch of Galileo navigation satellites will also fly this year.
All very different space missions with diverse goals, but their origins can all be traced back behind the doors of a single location: the European Space Technology and Research Centre, ESTEC – ESA’s single largest establishment, nestling beside the sand dunes of Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
In place for more than half a century, ESTEC is the incubator of the European space effort, where most ESA projects are born and where they are guided through development. Involvement may start with initial mission planning, research projects or laboratory support, extending to the testing of entire spacecraft in the ESTEC Test Centre, the largest facility of its kind in Europe. And ESTEC’s Erasmus is the leading European repository of human spaceflight expertise.”
See the full article here.
The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.
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