From ESA: “ESOC Control Room 1978”
European Space Agency
ESOC Control Room 1978
In 2017, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre will celebrate its 50th anniversary, having been inaugurated on 8 September 1967 as part of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO).
Within months, the centre was controlling its first mission, ESRO-2B , a 74 kg satellite carrying seven instruments to study solar and cosmic radiation and their interaction with Earth and its magnetosphere.
The 1970s were a busy time at the control centre, with the number of missions steadily increasing.
The decade saw 10 new missions launched by ESRO, of which eight (HEOS-A2, TD-1A, ESRO-4, COS-B, GEOS-1, Meteosat-1, GEOS-2 and OTS-2) were operated from here.
In 1975, ESRO joined with the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) to become the European Space Agency.
Today, teams are operating comprising 18 spacecraft on 11 missions, including Mars Express, Gaia, ExoMars, Sentinel-1 and -2, and CryoSat. Twelve more missions are in preparation for launch in the next few years.
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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.