A-Z of European Space

The first decades: 1959-1994

  • Anglo-Austrian Mathematician and astronomer, best known for developing the steady state model of the universe with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory
  • 1943-1949, 1952-1954 - Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
  • 1945-1948 – Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics, University of Cambridge
  • 1948-1954 – University Lecturer, Cambridge
  • 1954 - Professor of Mathematics at King's College London
  • 1967-1971 – Director General of ESRO
  • Master of Churchill College from 1983 to 1990
  • Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence (1971-77), Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy (1977-80) and Chairman of the Natural Environment Research Council (1980-84) and President of the Hydrographic Society (1985–1987)

Bondi was UK candidate for Director General of ESRO in 1967. At the November 1968 European Space Conference in Bad Godesberg, Bondi secured an agreed three-year level of resources, returning the organisation to legality. At the December 1970 ministerial conference, Bondi successfully averted the threat of the breakup of ESRO into national research programmes, instead promoting internal reform.

  • 1961 – Graduated from Paris University in Physics and Astronomy
  • 1968 – Doctorate in Physics from Paris University – Sorbonne
  • 1969-1983 – Director of the CNRS Laboratoire de Physique Stellaire et Planétaire and from 1977 Director of Research
  • 1977-1979 – Chairman of ESA’s Science Advisory Committee
  • 1983-2001 – Director of ESA’s Science Programme
  • 2001-2006 – Advisor to the Director General of ESA on the Aurora programme of planetary exploration
  • 2002-2003 – Joint Director General for Science at CNES
  • 2002-2010 – Chairman of COSPAR
  • 2002 - Professor at the University of Liège, Belgium
  • 2003 – 2013 – Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Honorary Director from 2013

As Director of the CNRS LPSP, Bonnet’s laboratory developed the telescope of the Halley Multicolour Camera that flew on board ESA’s Giotto Mission. During his subsequent term as Director of the Science Programme, he established ESA’s first long term science programme for 1985 to 2005, Horizon 2000, and defined the European strategy for Earth Sciences and Observation, now called the Living Planet programme.  
Horizon 2000 was based on four major science themes, implemented as flagship missions, along with a flexible part made of a mix of medium missions and smaller projects. The plan also identified a number of longer-term science endeavours to be studied in preparation for post-Horizon 2000 missions. Missions already approved, including Giotto, Hipparcos, HST and Ulysses with NASA and ISO were integrated into the plan. The flagship missions (cornerstones) included the SOHO/Cluster, XMM-Newton, Herschel and Rosetta missions. The first two medium missions approved were the ESA Huygens probe to Titan on board NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn and Integral - the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory in cooperation with Russia. A new plan covering the period 1995-2015, called Horizon 2000 plus, was subsequently endorsed in 1996. Under this plan, the Planck mission (later merged with Herschel into one development programme), Mars-Express mission, SMART-1 Lunar mission, GAIA, BepiColombo and LISA Pathfinder missions were approved. ESA's involvement in the NASA-led James Webb Space Telescope mission was also decided in 1998, during Bonnet’s mandate.

With its many successful missions the Horizon 2000 planning approach introduced by Bonnet enabled the European scientific community to play a leading role in many areas of space science.

See also: Interview with Roger Bonnet from the Oral History of Europe in Space Collection

  • 1944 – Doctorate in Law from the University of Paris
  • 1940s-1950s – Passed the entrance examination for the judiciary, assigned to the French Ministry of Justice with several secondments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Defence to carry out various activities outside France
  • 1962 – Joined ELDO as Legal Advisor in charge of External Relations
  • 1969-1973 – Secretary of the European Space Conference (position shared by Bourély and Hans  Kaltenecker)
  • 1973 Joined ESRO, becoming Legal Adviser
  • 1975-1983 – On the creation of ESA became Legal Adviser, Head of the Legal and Intellectual Property Department, until retirement in 1983

Within ELDO, ESRO and ESA, Bourély was responsible for the preparation of the various legal instruments: conventions, implementing regulations, constitution texts, activities programmes, agreements with Member States and frameworks for international cooperation.

  • Italian aerospace engineer, Professor at the School of Aerospace Engineering at Sapienza University Rome and Colonel in the Italian Air Force
  • Architect of the San Marco project, the Italian-US collaboration which sent into orbit the first all-European satellite in December 1964
  • Vice Chairman of GEERS and COPERS in the early 1960s
  • 1988 - Vice-President of the Italian Space Agency until his resignation and retirement in 1993.

Broglio was chief figure in the Italian national space programme and its relations with NASA, ESRO and ELDO. He was one of the Vice-Chairmen of the study group for space research GEERS and in the subsequent preparatory commission COPERS. He was instrumental in the creation of the Italian ESRO institution, ESRIN, proposed as a research laboratory and located in Frascati.

  • 1946 – degree in Electrical Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino
  • 1947-1962 worked at the Central Radio Laboratory of Magneti Marelli Company, Director from 1955 to 1962
  • 1962-1972 – Professor of Electrical Communication at the Politecnico di Milano, Rector from to 1969-1972
  • 1979-1980 – President of the European Society the Training of Engineers
  • 1990-1993 – Chairman of ESA
  • 1998 – Emeritus Professor at the Politecnico di Milano
  • 1960-1990s– At various times, President of the Scientific Council of the Centro di Studio sulle Telecommunicazioni Spaziali for the Italian CNR, President of CSELT (Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni), President and is Honorary President of Italtel.

In 1962 Carassa left industry for academia, becoming Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, where he formed the Centro di Studio per le Telecomunicazioni Spaziali (Centre for the Study of Space Telecommunications) of the Italian National Research Council. His research in Milan focused in particular on telecommunications through satellites and he proposed and guided the experiments on propagation and communication conducted for the Italian satellite Sirio, launched in 1977.

In June 1990 he was elected as Chairman of the ESA Council, serving until June 1993.

  • Italian diplomat and Italian Ambassador to San Salvador (1952) and South Africa (1959)
  • 1962 - Secretary General of COPERS
  • 1964-1971 - ELDO Secretary General and Secretary General of the European Space Conference

Carrobio di Carrobio was the first Secretary General of the COPERS Preparatory Group and became ELDO Secretary General on its creation in 1964. He shared (together with the DGs of ESRO Auger, Bondi and Hocker) the function of Secretary General of the European Space Conference. In that capacity he oversaw the development of European space policy and the coordination of the work of ESRO and ELDO, leading to their eventual merger to form ESA in 1975.

  • 1981 – Graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris
  • 1981 – Ingénieur Général de l’Armement in the French DGA defence procurement agency, seconded to CNES from 1983
  • 1983 – Graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse
  • 1983-1987 – Lectured at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse
  • 1985 – Selected as French astronaut and began training
  • 1987 – Graduated as Flight Test Engineer from Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception, Istres
  • 1987-1992 - Directed the parabolic flight programme at the Flight Test Center in Brétigny-sur-Orge
  • 1992-2018 – Joined the ESA Astronaut Corps, ESA Astronaut on three missions from 1994 to 1999
  • 2006 – CEO of Novespace, subsidiary of CNES in charge of parabolic flights on the Airbus A310 Zero-G aircraft

Clervoy was selected for the second group of French astronauts in 1985 and from 1987 to 1992 he directed the parabolic flight programme at the Flight Test Center in Brétigny-sur-Orge, and provided technical support to the European human space programme within the ESA Hermes crew office in Toulouse.

In 1992, he joined the ESA astronaut corps and was seconded to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, to qualify as a Space Shuttle mission specialist. He flew twice on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and once on Discovery (on STS-66 in 1994 for the ATLAS-3 mission; on STS-84 in 1997 to the Mir space station; and on STS-103 in 1999 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope). Between spaceflights, he was assigned as flight software verification lead in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and as robotics display design lead for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

From 2001 to 2008 he was Senior Advisor Astronaut for ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle in Les Mureaux, France. In 2008, he was a member of the selection board for the new ESA astronaut class, and coach for their first year of training. He retired from ESA in 2018.

  • 1957 – Degree in Engineering from the University of Liège
  • 1957-1958 – Research Assistant at the University of Liège
  • 1958-1963 – Fulbright Scholarship and PhD at the California Institute of Technology
  • 1963-1964 – Worked on laser technology at the Royal Military Academy, Brussels
  • 1964 – Joined ESRO as Project Engineer in the Large Astronomical Satellite Division
  • 1977 – Head of the ESA Telecommunications Programmes Department
  • 1990-1996 – ESA Director of the Telecommunications Programmes
  • 1997-1998 – ESA Director of Applications

On joining ESRO Collette contributed to the definition phases for the scientific satellites launched between 1972 and 1977 (HEOS-2, ESRO-4, COS-B and GEOS-1). In 1966, he coordinated the feasibility studies relating to telecommunications satellites and from 1970 was involved in the leadership of the first phase of the European telecommunications programme.

In 1977 became Head of the Telecommunications Programmes Department and was later was appointed Director of Telecommunications Programmes in 1990, at a time when the Data Relay and Technology Mission Programme led to a major reorganisation of the Directorate.

After the departure of Emiliani Lanfranco, Director of Observation of Earth and its Environment, Collette was appointed as interim Director of Applications. He was succeeded by Claudio Mastracci in November 1998. The success of the ESA projects developed under the Applications pillar owe a lot to the Earth Observation Strategy and Living Planet Programme that Collette contributed to defining.

  • 1959 – Member of the Organising Committee for the International Federation for Information Processing, representing the Swedish Society for Information Processing
  • 1960s – Director of the UN Intergovernmental Bureau for Informatics, a transformation of the International Computation Centre in Rome established by UNESCO
  • 1964-1967 - Director of ESDAC, ESOC’s European Space Data Centre (which became ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in 1967)
  • 1930s? – Doctorate at the University of Paris
  • 1941-1959 – Director of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
  • 1941-1972 – Professor in the Faculty of Sciences of Paris
  • 1957-1962 – Director General of CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • 1958-1960 – President of the Société astronomique de France
  • 1962-1967 – President of CNES, the National Centre for Space Research
  • 1967-1969 – President of the Bureau des Longitudes
  • 1967-1971 – President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
  • 1972-1974 – President of the International Council for Science

Coulomb was a was a French theoretical geophysicist, author, teacher, and international leader in geophysics and space science, whose work extended over all of geophysics. As President of the fledgling CNES, he was able to develop and expand to the point where it became a source of major European space ventures.