European Space Agency (ESA)

Established: On a de facto basis by agreement signed at a meeting of the European Space Conference at Brussels, Belgium, on July 31, 1973, effective May 1, 1975; de jure establishment achieved upon ratification of the ESA Convention on October 30, 1980.

Purpose: To provide for and promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European states in space research and technology, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications; to elaborate and implement a long-term European space policy; and to progressively “Europeanize” national space programs.

Headquarters: Paris, France.

Principal Organs: Council (all members), Directorates.

Director General: Jean-Jacques Dordain (France).

Membership (16): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Cooperating States (3): Canada, Czech Republic, ...

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