Experimental building under construction © ESA
55 years of ESRIN - relive the foundation ceremony on 27 September 1968!
Wed, 27/09/2023 - 08:26

27 September 2023 marks the 55th anniversary of ESA’s ESRIN site in Frascati, Italy, and the ceremony to lay its foundation stone. Come back in time with us and relive the programme for the day, with newly opened digitised material from the ESA Archives!

Today home to ESA’s Earth observation activities, ESRIN was established in the mid -1960s as ESRO’s ESLAR laboratory for advanced research and was subsequently renamed ESRIN - the European Space Research Institute. 27 September 1968 was the date chosen for the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for today’s site, and therefore became the formal date for the creation of ESRIN.

The event started at 11:00 when ambassadors, scientists, local and national authorities, delegates from ESRO member states gathered to hear speeches by the Chairman of the ESRO Council, Professor Hendrik van de Hulst, the Director General of ESRO, Professor Hermann Bondi, the Director of ESRIN, Professor Hermann Jordan, the European NASA representative, Mr C. Wood, the Chairman of the Italian National Research Council, Professor Vincenzo Caglioti, the Mayor of Frascati, Mr G. Boazzelli and the Undersecretary of State for Scientific Research in Italy, Professor Mario Pedini. A blessing was then given by the Archbishop of Frascati, a Latin-inscribed scroll was sealed in the foundation stone and the stone was laid by Professor Pedini as the official representative of the Italian Government. The stone also contained the symbolic ten coins of the ten ESRO member states. The ceremony was transmitted that evening on Italian television.

To celebrate this latest anniversary, we have gathered together original material from the day itself so you can experience it from the perspective of the original participants! Click through the slideshow below to see highlights including the programme and maps, the opening remarks to the speeches given, the signatures in the foundation guestbook and the images captured by the ESRO photographers.

The hard copy originals of most of this material was formerly held by the ESOC Communications Office, prior to transferral to the ECSR. The digitised copies form part of a recently opened collection on the communication activities of ESA’s predecessors ESRO and ELDO from 1964 to 1975.

To access the complete holdings on the foundation of ESRIN and the wider collection, search for 'foundation', ‘esro publications’ or ‘eldo publications’ in the SHIP database.

Happy anniversary ESRIN and happy browsing from the Archives team!

More information

Find out more about the ESRIN foundation material and the document collection on ESRO and ELDO communications activities from 1964-1975.

More about the history of ESRIN in ESA celebrates 50 years of ESRIN