European Space Agency Introduction & Guided Visit, Darmstadt, February 2024

The German Australian Business Council entered Deep Space – for an evening!

A very successful event was conducted on February 29 at the premises of the European Space Agency‘s (ESA) operating centre (ESOC – in Darmstadt with over 50 attendees, with Octave Procope-Mamert, Head of Ground Facilities, leading through the evening.

The evening commenced with a guided tour through the premises and detailed explanations about the work the ESOC performs in Darmstadt, followed by presentations in the press centre.

Some key take-aways:

  • ESA has 22 Member States – most, but not all of whom are part of the European Union – who provide the basic funding.
  • ESA‘s charter specifies that their work is for non-defense and peaceful scientific purposes only. One of the key objectives is to find and build up small medium enterprises who can develop solutions to as yet unanswered questions and thus establish and develop Europe‘s competence in space related technologies.
  • Work in space focusses both on earth observations providing valuable data on amongst others climate change to scientists and policy makers alike as well as groundbreaking research in deep space.
  • Space agencies world wide cooperate very closely with one another thus leveraging their respective budgets and capabilites.
  • Many „hundred thousand“ galaxies (not stars!) have already been identified in space… so if anyone thinks we on Earth are important… think again.
  • ESA has an annual budget of €7.2 billion equivalent to €12 per European citizen.
  • They have managed and run over 80 space missions.
  • Increasingly „space debris“ is becoming a safety issue yet to be resolved.
  • ESA owns amongst others 3 deep space telescopes situated in Spain, Argentina and Western Australia. A second one is currently in construction at the WA site.
  • Every „1 space Euro“ spent generates around €8 in flow-on business and jobs.

The evening concluded with valuable networking over fingerfood and drinks.

ESA/ESOC is actively looking for further partners – especially in Australia – who have capabilities in space related technologies and are interested in working with ESA. Any interested parties are welcome to contact ESA directly or the German Australian Business Council.