European Space Agency

1975 (Paris [France])
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Agence spatiale européenne

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Historical Notes

The Conference of the Plenipotentiaries that met in Paris on May 1975 to sign the Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency (ESA) was the culmination of ten years work within the framework of the European Space Conference. The European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) had to became the core of the Agency while the European Organisation for the Development and Construction of Space Vehicle Launchers (ELDO), fell effectively into liquidation. Notwithstanding the promotion of the joint US/European Spacelab Programme, European autonomy in space increased. The new Agency reached tangible results in a relatively short time as one by one, METEOSAT, OTS and ARIANE satelites proved technically successful (AEROSAT, a joint European/US project, never came to anything) SPACELAB would have to wait full shuttle development, which was delayed. The funding problem was a major brake on activities and it was not until 1985 that ministers approved a number of concrete proposals, including ARIANE-5, the HERMES preparatory programme and the participation in International Space Station (ISS).

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