French Agence Spatiale Européenne
Western European space and space-technology research organization headquartered in Paris.
It was founded in 1975 from the merger of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) and the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO), both established in 1964. Members are Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Canada, through a special cooperative agreement, participates in some projects. The ESA developed the Ariane series of space launch vehicles, and it supports a launch facility in French Guiana. It has launched a system of meteorological satellites (Meteosat) as well as the Giotto space probe, which examined the nucleus of Halley's Comet , and Hipparcos, a satellite that measured the parallax es, positions, and proper motion s of more than 100,000 stars. It is also a participant in the construction of the International Space Station .