ESA Press Releases
ESA Press Releases © ESA

The physical collections of ESA press releases are preserved in the European Centre for Space Records. The releases from the 1970s and 1980s, issued by the HQ Communications Office, were kept in a garage in the green boxes used in ESA’s former headquarters building in Rue Mario Nikis in Paris, prior to their transfer to the ECSR. The more recent releases, from the 2000s onwards, issued by the ESA Communications Department, came to the ECSR from ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany. Initially, ESA press releases were issued according to a colour-coded system for languages, with the page headers for English and German releases in light blue, and for French releases in dark blue. However, from the mid-1980s, green was used for German releases. (Beyond the years of the 1990s that this collection currently covers, later releases were issued on coloured paper, with lilac for English, blue for French and green for German; a final unified format for all languages used a header with a yellow block and with the flags of ESA Member States.)

Confusingly, there were also variations in the terminology and format used for the releases and the associated numbering systems over the years. From 1983 to 1992, for example, ‘News Releases’ were issued alongside ‘Information Notes for the Press’ (or ‘Information Notes to the Press’ or just ‘Notes to the Press’!) News releases were always numbered chronologically throughout each year, but the numbering for information notes was inconsistent: some years they were numbered independently; some years they were integrated into the numbering system for news releases; and some years they were not numbered at all.

Additionally, from 1975 until 1987 releases were issued on paper bearing the header reading ‘News Release’. This header continued to be used until 1992, but from 1990 with the typed wording ‘Press Release’ preceding the text.

However, what unifies all formats to form a coherent collection is that they were all used for the same purpose of releasing information to the press. The information that was made public through these press releases generally included details of launches, results of space missions, decisions adopted at meetings of ESA Council, ESA-sponsored events and conferences, international cooperation agreements, and important staff changes such as a new Director General.

Since 1993, ESA press releases in English have also been published on the ESA website, first by the HQ Communications Office and from 2003, by the ESA Communications Department.

This collection comprises the material that has been digitised from the physical collection and includes the press releases issued in English, French and German by the HQ Communications Office. The material available at present covers the period from 1980 to 1992 (with two additional months – August and October - from 1975). However, the years 1988 and 1989 are missing from the Archives, along with the releases from the last few months of 1992.

SHIP's Image Viewer

To browse the collection of press releases, enter the SHIP database and search for ‘press releases’.
The press releases have been grouped into series, with one series for each relevant year.
Once you have selected a series, SHIP’s image viewer allows you to select your preferred viewing mode for the documents in it by clicking the 'image viewer' icon on the right of the top header bar.




Toggle image manipulation in SHIPIf you need to rotate any of the pages (in particular when viewing releases from 1980) open the image manipulation menu (left) by selecting and then select the rotate 90° tool.