Welcome to the ESA Archives web portal © ESA
ESA gives online access to its digital Historical Archives with a first release this week
Wed, 25/01/2023 - 11:38

ESA Director General Josef AschbacherAs Director General of the European Space Agency, together with our Archives team, I am delighted to welcome you to this site and to take advantage of the free and public release of the digital content of the ESA Historical Archives, brought together for the first time in a single place. This initial release opens the historical pictures collections of the Archives for the first time.

The launch of this website also coincides with us marking the first twenty years of the European Centre for Space Records (ECSR) in ESA-ESRIN, central hub and one of the physical homes of ESA’s Historical Archives.

What exactly is the purpose of archives and the point of opening them to the public? In the words of the International Council on Archives, archives are the documentary by-product of human activity retained for their long-term value and providing a direct window on the past and an important legacy to inform our future decisions.  Our ESA Historical Archives are certainly much more than a collection of documents or images – they tell the story of who we are and how we think about our organisation, told through the lens of our achievements and challenges, people and partnerships, and how cooperation in space activities between European nations has been contributing to European integration and identity

Space has been shaping our societies and their social imaginaries for decades now and it will increasingly do so in the years to come. This site, and the material in it, is a window towards a wealth of information also to investigate this important societal element.

Of course, the content you see today is just the beginning and the opening of our archives will  be pursued in successive waves. Working within the wider context and ambition of the ESA Agenda 2025, our Archives Team will be continuing its ongoing digitisation activities, and we will be adding new collections frequently. We will also be augmenting functionalities and developing other resources on Europe’s legacy in space and highlighting each month some of the hidden treasures in our care.

We hope the content you find here will be a rich resource for your research and for understanding and promoting this fascinating and important element of our European cultural and scientific identity and the value of cooperation.

If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement, we would love to hear from you. You can write to us at Archive.Services@esa.int.

Bonnes recherches and happy browsing!

Josef Aschbacher
Director General