The Creation of the ESA
The merger of the two organizations created the European Space Agency in 1974, headquartered in Paris, France. There are now eighteen member countries or “member states" that include France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg and Czech Republic. The countries combined budget of approximately €4.7 Trillion ($6.1 Trillion) in 2009 compared NASA’s budget of approximately $17 Billion (€13 Billion) in 2008. Although not listed, Canada is responsible for a large majority of the budget as well.
The mission as stated on the European Space Agency’s website “is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world".
The intent of this article was to discuss the history of the European Space Agency its self. The European Space Agency’s history of missions will be discussed in next part of this series.