ESA Brochures
ESA Brochures © ESA

The ESA Brochures published by the ESA Publications Division in ESTEC were part of a new series of publications created after the formation of ESA, intended to highlight specific missions and programmes for the public and media. ESRO and ELDO had previously published ‘public relations’ material but they never gave a reference to these publications. The Brochure series was planned from 1977 but the first issue was in 1979 with the volume on ‘Biology and Medicine in Space. Research Opportunities offered by Spacelab. An Invitation to European Investigators’. The publication of the Brochures in printed form was stopped in the 2020s and they are now online interactive publications. The most recent Brochure, BR-248 (Webb: Seeing farther) was published in 2021.
Initially, the brochures were planned to foster interest in an ESA facility or service and were either based on detailed technical information aimed at a specific public or intended to direct a specific public to more detailed technical information. Brochures were also intended to be published by the PR offices with both technical material and more general content.

With changing times, however, the wording used to describe the Brochures in policies on ESA publications changed, and references to public relations documents were changed to talk about information for the ‘general public or the space-interested general public’. And at the same time, the Brochures series became more of an ad-hoc, general, publication route for material that did not fit easily into the other categories of ESA publication. In recent decades they have been issued as supporting material for launch events.

Brochures were planned to have under 50 pages and make good use of illustrations. Most were published in A4 size, while some were in 20x20, and there were other examples in a smaller ‘book’ format. They often carried the ‘BR’ marking, but some had no marking at all.

This collection of Brochures in the ECSR Archives covers the period 1979 to 2018 and has been gathered over the years thanks to donations made to the Archives by ESA staff on their retirement. Additionally, the closure of the ESOC Communications Archives allowed the ECSR to consolidate in one location the major collection of ESA public relations materials. The digitised material available at present covers the period from 1979 to 2001. Further material from 2001 onwards will be opened later as a second tranche.

However, the Archives are still missing some copies. If you cannot find a particular Brochure in SHIP, it will be one of these missing copies. We are interested in hearing from anyone with copies of missing Brochures who would be willing to donate them!

SHIP's Image ViewerTo browse the collection of ESA Brochures, enter the SHIP database and search for ‘Brochures'.

Once you have selected a copy, 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.