We have just opened the third collection in our ongoing series of ESA publications and you can now browse copies of the ESA Brochures, issued from 1979 to 2001 in our SHIP database.
The ESA Brochures was a new series of publications created after the formation of ESA in 1975, intended to highlight specific missions and programmes for the public and media, or to be published by the PR offices with both technical material and more general content. As time passed, the wording in ESA publication policies was reformulated and the Brochures became the publication route for information for the ‘general public or the space-interested general public’.
Each new collection sheds new light on a particular aspect of ESA and the Brochures collection is no exception. In contrast to a reference made in our July Object of the Month (a copperplate for the Secretary General of ELDO’s business card) to the Francophone culture of ESA’s predecessor ELDO, we were struck by the multilingual aspect of the brochures, with publications often in both English and French, and also in other languages of ESA’s Member States at the time, including German, Italian and Spanish.
Some, naturally, were published in the language of a country hosting an ESA site to celebrate ESA’s activities there. Examples include an ESRIN Brochure from 1989 on its data exploitation activities – ESRIN, tuned in to the outside world (in English, French and Italian) and another from 1992 on Spain: Success Story in Space (in English and Spanish). The latter particularly current today with Spain recently having assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in July 2023. (The exception that proves the rule, however, seems to be the 1992 celebration of 25 Years of ESOC, where we only have an English-language version!)
Another curiosity is the wide range of Brochure material published in or around 1992. Is it possible to attribute this to ESA’s alignment with growing European cohesion and identity and the establishment of European citizenship and enhanced free movement with the1992 Maastricht Treaty (now celebrating over 30 years of enriching European diversity)? European ideals are certainly reflected in one 1992 publication on European Space… for Exclusively Peaceful Purposes, which, of course, has it roots further back in the position enshrined in the 1975 ESA Convention. In its own words, ‘ESA is a highly successful essay in European cooperation at the political, technical, industrial and social levels’.
And since we are ESA, our ambition reaches beyond continental, or even global boundaries. 1994’s A Moon Programme: the European View, prepared by ESA astronaut Wubbo Ockels, outlined the first steps in a proposed international programme to follow the International Space Station. With particular emphasis, once again, on the need for peaceful, civilian initiatives for the common good and for our future benefit.
Which all goes to show that, in the words of the ESRIN Brochure, ESA really is ‘tuned in to the outside world’, but also follows the encouragement in two Brochures on the Ariane family to ‘reach for the skies’!
Read more about the ESA Brochures.
To 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. (IMAGE to be copied from highlight)
Please note that the Archives are 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!