ESA (European Space Agency) is an intergovernmental agency that coordinates joint space projects for some twenty European countries. Its headquarters are based in Paris and its main technical center in Noordjwick, the Netherlands.
The agency’s activities cover the entire space sector:
- sciences with astrophysics
- exploration of the solar system
- study of the Sun and fundamental physics
- study and observation of the Earth with specialized satellites
- launcher development
- manned flights through its involvement in the International Space Station
- navigation by satellite with the Galileo program
- space telecommunications
- research in the field of space technologies
The ESA is the biggest user of parabolic flights in Europe, for the benefit of European research laboratories. It is also the employer of astronauts Jean-François Clervoy (part-time, since he spends the other half of his time at Novespace) and Thomas Pesquet, pilot of the A310 Zero G.