ESA Journal
ESA Journal covers © ESA

This collection contains the full set of historic ESA Journals held by the ESA Archives and now digitised. The ESA Journal was the successor to the ESA Scientific and Technical Review, and was issued quarterly by the ESA Scientific and Technical Publications Branch, based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. It was intended as ESA’s principal technical publication (complementing the ESA Bulletin which was directed at a wider, space-interested, public, with the aim of generating widespread interest in ESA). The ESA ADMIN instruction, which introduced the Journal to staff, signed by Director General Roy Gibson in 1977, describes it as a learned publication.

Gibson’s instruction also lays out its two main objectives:

  1. Stimulating professional appreciation of ESA/European liveliness and excellence in all aspects of the space field, with emphasis on research, on the posing of understanding of emerging problems, and on the launching of fresh ideas; and
  2. Spreading interest in European space programmes and potential among European professional and educational institutions thereby encouraging greater active participation in European space activities.

Its contents included primary publications and information on ESA-related activities of interest to the professional space community. Primary publications were intended as original and significant ESA or European contributions to technology, science, missions, or systems management and operations in the space field. Information on activities included reports on the main contributions of ESA sponsored workshops and conferences and bibliographies and abstracts of either ESA publications or the external publication of ESA staff.

The years available run from 1980 to 1994, more or less commensurate with Massimo Trella’s time as ESA Technical Director and Inspector General, since Trella was a key figure in guiding the ESA Journal. (The Scientific and Technical Publications Branch held overall responsibility for the ESA Journal, with support from an Editorial Advisory Board established in 1977).  Each Journal can be consulted online.  (If you would like to request of pdf copy of any ESA Journal, please write to

However, the Archives are missing copies of the ESA Journal for several years (notably ESA Journal Vol 4 no 2 from 1980 and also for the period from 1977 to 1979). In both this case, and in other instances where our collections have gaps, we are interested in hearing from anyone with copies of the missing volumes who would be willing to donate them!

In the 1990s, ESA decided that for cost-saving purposes, it would no longer publish the ESA Journal. The final issue was ESA Journal Vol 18 No 3, published in September 1994.

SHIP's Image ViewerTo browse the collection of ESA Journals, enter the SHIP database and search for ‘Journal’.
For both the ESA Journal and for other forthcoming collections of publications, 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.