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European Space Agency

The European Space Agency 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 people of Europe.

ESA has 15 Member States and 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. Its task is to draw up the European space plan (for example in manned space flight, earth observation, communications, science, technology etc) and carry it through.

ESA's 15 Member States are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada has special status and participates in some projects under a cooperation agreement

The benefits of space exploration are not confined to scientists, engineers and astronauts. Space exploration also helps to improve daily lives. For instance, Europe's space programme has helped to keep Europe at the forefront of scientific discovery on our Solar System and the Universe. This research has also led to breakthroughs in other scientific areas. Many of the scientific discoveries that are making our lives healthier and longer originated in space research - for example, recent advances in detecting cancers and new treatments for heart disease. Developments in space technology can also be adapted for other uses. One example is the flame-resistant textiles used for protective clothing which are the result of research to protect electric circuits in rockets. The space industry benefits from the award of ESA contracts and also puts the technical experience gained from taking part in ESA's programmes to other uses.

More about ESA can be found at:

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