Intergovernmental space exploration agency with 23 member states, established on May 30, 1975. The organization's 2015 budget topped 4.4 billion euros.
Headquartered in Paris, France, its primary spaceport is the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana. Although reliant on Russian or US propulsion, the ESA maintains an astronaut corps from various member countries, regularly dispatching them to the International Space Station. Among their number was German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who stayed on the ISS for six months in 2014. This page collates DW's latest content related to ESA.
At the rate the Americans send satellites into space, you'd be right to ask, is it special anymore? Not very. But the Sentinel-2B satellite launch next week is. It's a "breakthrough" in European technology.
The discovery of seven new Earth-like planets has risen hope to find extraterrestrial life. During space explorations, though, researchers have to be careful to avoid contaminating other worlds with life from Earth.
Maurer is a 46-year-old material science engineer, who just missed out on becoming an astronaut in the class of 2009. Since than, Maurer has been working at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne. But he's had to be patient. And even now as Germany's second astronaut, he may have to wait another five years before he flies. Zulfikar Abbany spoke to him at the ESA-Center in Darmstadt.