On 28 August 2014, the European Space Agency [ESA] celebrated 50 years of European cooperation in space. Jean-Jacques Dordain, the ESA’s Director General, invited dignitaries, former astronauts, and colleagues past and present, the workforce at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany [ESOC] gathered to share the success story of the ESA.
In 1964, the Conventions of ELDO (launchers) and ESRO (science and later applications) entered into force. A decade later, a single European Space Agency was established, taking over from these two organisations.
For 50 years, ESA and its precursor organisations together with partners in the 20 Member States, space industry and the scientific community have served European cooperation and innovation in space based on competence, cooperation, continuity and integration.
At ESOC, the Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations, Thomas Reiter, welcomed ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain to a gala programme celebrating ESA past, present and future.
In his address, the Director General spoke about Europe’s 50 years of achievements in space, and looked forward to continued success in the next 50 years. “I am proud to be here today at ESOC, where for decades Europe has cooperated in the development of spacecraft operations expertise,” said Director General Dordain. “The experts here are among Europe’s best and most capable across satellite control, ground station technology and ground systems engineering. If ESOC cannot do it, nobody can do it.”
The programme included presentations by distinguished keynote speakers and video greetings from current and former staff, moderated panel discussions on technology trends and the future of space flight, videoconferences with ESA’s Columbus and ATV control centres near Munich and Toulouse, and a talk with the CEO of cesah, the managing partner of ESA’s Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Darmstadt.
Read more about the celebrations on the ESA website.