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Automated Transfer Vehicle

Aurora programme

The European Space Agency's Aurora programme formulates and implements Europe's long-term plans for robotic and human exploration of the Solar System.


This is a group of interconnected companies and associated institutions (faculties, research centers, SMEs) in a particular field. The benefits of these networks include access to specialised human resources, suppliers and knowledge.

Columbus laboratory

This unit will be ESA's largest single contribution to the International Space Station. The 4.5 meter diameter cylinder will add extensive research and science facilities to ISS capabilities.


European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service


European programme for Life and Physical Sciences


European Space Agency


European Space Research and Technology Centre


European Space Technology Platform


European Technology Platform: industry-led stakeholder forum charged with defining research priorities in a broad range of technological areas.

EU-ESA Framework Agreement

Signed in November 2003 and entered into force in May 2004, the Framework Agreement sets out the basis for joint projects, common management structures and closer working arrangements between the European Commission and the European Space Agency.


European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC)

The ESTEC is the European Space Agency's technical 'heart' and is located in the Netherlands.


Sixth Framework Programme


This is the flagship satellite navigation system being built by the European Union and the European Space Agency.

Geostationary satellite

A satellite in orbit over the equator whose orbital period matches the rotational period of the Earth and, therefore, appears to remain stationary over a fixed position on Earth.

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)

GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is a European initiative for the implementation of information services dealing with environment and security. GMES will be based on observation data received from Earth Observation satellites and ground based information. These data will be coordinated, analysed and prepared for end-users. It will develop a set of services for European citizens helping to improve their quality of life regarding environment and security. GMES plays a strategic role in supporting major EU policies by its services.


This the satellite navigation system developed by the former Soviet Union and now operated by Russia.


Global Positioning System is the satellite navigation system developed and deployed by the US.


Global Positioning System


European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Supervisory Agency

Integral Satcom Initiative

An industry-led forum and European technology platform which brings together together all aspects of satellite communications supporting all forms of space communications and exploitation.


Indian Space Research Organisation


International Space Station


Joint Action Plan

Launchers (heavy-, medium-lift, Launchers, etc)

Rocket-based systems that deliver payloads (satellites, manned vehicles, etc.) into space. Heavy, medium and small indicate the relative weight of payload that a particular launcher can carry into space.

SatCom technology

satellite communications technology

Soyuz launcher

A launcher system developed by the Soviet Union now being adapted for use as a medium-lift launcher for Europe.

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