ESA European Space Agency National Flags Patch
The patch in full colour embroidery features the 18 National flags of the all of the ESA members that were current at the time. Since January 2011 they have been joined by Romania and an extra flag inserted. The patch measures appromiately 130mm x 80mm.
What is ESA?
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission 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.
ESA is an international organisation with 18 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
What does ESA do?
ESA’s job is to draw up the European space programme and carry it through. ESA’s programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and services, and to promote European industries. ESA also works closely with space organisations outside Europe.
Who belongs to ESA?
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada takes part in some projects under a Cooperation agreement. Romania signed its Accession Agreement with ESA on 20 January 2011 and will soon become the 19th Member State.
Paris, France – MERIS, 14 July 2003
Where is ESA located?
ESA’s headquarters are in Paris which is where policies and programmes are decided. ESA also has sites in a number of European countries, each of which has different responsibilities:
- EAC, the European Astronauts Centre in Cologne, Germany;
- ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre, in Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid, Spain;
- ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany;
- ESRIN, the ESA centre for Earth Observation, in Frascati, near Rome, Italy;
- ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
A new ESA centre has opened in the United Kingdom, at Harwell, Oxfordshire. ESA also has liaison offices in Belgium, USA and Russia; a launch base in French Guiana and ground/tracking stations in various parts of the world.
How many people work for ESA?
There are around 2200 staff working for ESA, from all the Member States and include scientists, engineers, information technology specialists and administrative personnel.
Where do ESA’s funds come from?
ESA’s mandatory activities (space science programmes and the general budget) are funded by a financial contribution from all the Agency’s Member States, calculated in accordance with each country’s gross national product. In addition, ESA conducts a number of optional programmes. Each Member State decides in which optional programme they wish to participate and the amount they wish to contribute.
How big is ESA’s budget?
ESA’s budget for 2012 is €3920 million. ESA operates on the basis of geographical return, i.e. it invests in each Member State, through industrial contracts for space programmes, an amount more or less equivalent to each country’s contribution.
How much does each European spend on ESA?
European per capita investment in space is very little. On average, every citizen of an ESA Member State pays, in taxes for expenditure on space, about the same as the price of a cinema ticket (in USA, investment in civilian space activities is almost four times as much).
How does ESA operate?
The Council is ESA’s governing body and provides the basic policy guidelines within which ESA develops the European space programme. Each Member State is represented on the Council and has one vote, regardless of its size or financial contribution.
ESA is headed by a Director General who is elected by the Council every four years. Each individual research sector has its own Directorate and reports directly to the Director General. The present Director General of ESA is Jean-Jacques Dordain.
The Expedition Three crew members–astronaut Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., commander, and cosmonauts Vladimir N. Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, flight engineers–had the following to say about the insignia for their scheduled mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS): “The book of space history turns from the chapter written onboard the Russian Mir Station and the U.S. Space Shuttle to the next new chapter, one that will be written on the blank pages of the future by space explorers working for the benefit of the entire world. The space walker signifies the human element of this endeavor. The star representing the members of the third expedition, and the entire multi-national Space Station building team, streaks into the dawning era of cooperative space exploration, represented by the image of the International Space Station as it nears completion.”
The International Space Station Expedition Two patch depicts the Space Station as it appears during the time the second crew will be on board. The Station flying over the Earth represents the overall reason for having a space station: to benefit the world through scientific research and international cooperation in space. The number 2 is for the second expedition and is enclosed in the Cyrillic MKS and Latin ISS which are the respective Russian and English abbreviations for the International Space Station. The United States and Russian flags show the nationalities of the crew indicating the joint nature of the program. When asked about the stars in the background, a crew spokesman said they “…represent the thousands of space workers throughout the ISS partnership who have contributed to the successful construction of our International Space Station.”
The first International Space Station crew patch is a simplified graphic of the station complex when fully completed. The station is seen with solar arrays turned forward. The last names of the Expedition One crew, Soyuz pilot Yuri Gidzenko, flight engineer Sergei Krikalev, and expedition commander William (Bill) Shepherd, appear under the station symbol.
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- International Space Station Insignia
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- ESA National Flags Patch
- Space Station Expedition 3 Insignia