ESA Meteosat Programme sticker © ESA
Christmas comes early with the opening of the ESA stickers collection!
Tue, 19/12/2023 - 10:05

Last month’s celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Spacelab, featured a sticker from the Spacelab-1 mission as the November Object of the Month. Following on from this, today we have opened our collection of digitised ESA stickers in our SHIP database, as an early Christmas present to readers!

These stickers were produced by ESA’s predecessor ESRO and then by ESA from the late 1960s onwards for events and launches, and to celebrate new Member States joining ESA. They were included in press kits along with other communications gadgets like pin brooches and were also given to members of the public coming to space exhibitions. Their design often replicated the mission patches, but since they cost less to produce than these fabric patches, they were an ideal giveaway for ESA missions.

The collection includes the digitised stickers that are available in high resolution and for which we have at least minimal information or descriptions. It covers the period from the 1960s to 2021 and the whole spectrum of ESA activities, from sounding rockets and balloon programmes, through human spaceflight and launchers, to meteorology and science. Some of the most well-known ESA missions or collaborations, such as Spacelab, Giotto and the Hubble Space Telescope are represented, along with many of the trailblazing satellites from the first years of ESA – those with sharp eyes can map the variations in the numbers of country flags throughout these projects!

As every child (or former child) knows, sticker are also great collectables! From the ‘vintage’ sticker books of the 1970s and the first years of ESA, to today’s market on the internet, the appeal of the sticker seems to be truly universal. A quick internet search also confirms that there is an active community of space sticker enthusiasts combing specialist sites for the latest available designs.

And one such collector is ESA’s Head of the Print Media and Merchandising Production Office, Hugo Simoes, who has an extensive personal collection of ESA memorabilia. We asked Hugo how it all started:

It began in 2002 when a colleague, specialising in designing ESA pins, stickers, and patches, generously shared samples from his portfolio. Inspired by this, I embarked on a mission to amass as many as possible from both colleagues and online marketplaces. Today, my collection features hundreds of stickers, just slightly fewer than the number housed in the ESA Archives!

We thank Hugo for his support and collaboration with this opening and in conserving our collective digitised material on stickers. And we would love to hear from other ESA sticker hunters about your most precious finds – do get in touch and share them with us.

In the meanwhile, we also hope that this collection might inspire a new generation to start collecting!

More information

Interested in ESA gadgets and products, or stuck for Christmas presents? Check the online ESA Space Shop and the collection of downloadable ESA posters.

Read more about ESA stickers and how to browse the collection in SHIP.