With our fourth document collection, now open in the SHIP database, we are returning to the beginning of the European story in space. This new collection focuses on the communication activities of ESA’s two predecessor organisations – ESRO (the European Space Research Organisation) and ELDO (the European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation) from their creation in 1964 until the establishment of ESA in 1975.
It is also the first in an occasional series of special material, highlighting aspects of this decade of ESA ‘prehistory’ and tracing elements along the road from the first European space organisations to the birth of ESA, culminating in our 50th anniversary in 2025.
The collection comprises an initial selection of material formerly held by the ESOC Communications Office. The material available at present covers three main categories: communications or public relations events and activities related to ESRO sites; press and public relations material for ESRO technical programmes; and a small section of ELDO publications.
The stories of the creation or development of many of today’s ESA sites are therefore contained in these documents – including ESDAC in Darmstadt (which later became ESOC), Redu in Belgium and ESTEC in Noordwijk. And we also find original publications on the origins of the Centre Spatial Guyanais – ELDO’s equatorial launch base and now Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana.
Another very topical subset of material concerns the creation of ESRIN in the 1960s and will be opened shortly. Originally founded as ESRO’s ESLAR laboratory for advanced research, it was subsequently renamed ESRIN - the European Space Research Institute – and its main laboratory activity was experiments to study physical and chemical phenomena in space. While it began its work in temporary accommodation in 1966, 27 September 1968 marked the formal creation of ESRIN, with a ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone for today’s site, on the outskirts of Frascati, near Rome.
Watch this space for a news article to commemorate the 55th anniversary of this occasion, with some special material, coming very soon!
Read more about the ESRO and ELDO communications activities.
To browse the collection, enter the SHIP database and search for ‘esro publications’ or ‘eldo publications’. Once you have selected a file, SHIP’s image viewer allows you to select your preferred viewing mode by clicking the 'image viewer' icon on the right of the top header bar.