Press Release

Start-of-the-year press breakfast with ESA Director General

By SpaceRef Editor
December 21, 2012
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On Thursday, 24 January, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain will meet the press at the traditional start-of-year gathering, providing an overview of ESA’s achievements in 2012 and the challenges ahead in 2013.

The event will take place at ESA-HQ Daumesnil: 52, rue Jacques Hillairet, 75012 Paris, France. The briefing begins at 09:00 CET; doors open at 08:30 CET.

2013 will be another year when ESA launches missions across all domains of space. It will be a year of implementation of all decisions taken at the Council at ministerial level on 20-21 November 2012. Moreover, it will be a year of major scientific results.

The year will start with Proba-V, ESA’s small technology mission that will track global vegetation growth, which will be launched on the new Vega rocket. Earth observation will also benefit from the launch of Swarm, the Earth Explorer mission that will map Earth’s magnetic field, and Sentinel 1-A, the first in a new family of satellites for the GMES programme.

Human spaceflight will see two launches to the International Space Station: the fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, ATV Albert Einstein, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on the ‘Volare’ long-duration mission, in cooperation with Italy’s ASI space agency.

Telecommunications will see the launch of Alphasat I-XL, the new-generation telecommunications satellite developed in partnership with Inmarsat and European industry.

Scientists around the world are awaiting the launch of Gaia, ESA’s discovery machine charged with charting a billion stars in our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Finally, the year will see the launches of two pairs of operational Galileo satellites in the Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase. The building of the constellation is progressing at full speed.

2013 will also be a year of results. An important moment will be the release by the Planck mission of the first all-sky map of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The release will also feature Planck’s scientific results in cosmology.

The Earth Explorer missions in operation (GOCE, SMOS and CryoSat) will continue returning invaluable data to understand climate change and the evolution of planet Earth. The Director General’s briefing will be webstreamed at

Media representatives wishing to attend are requested to register by email to:

How to get to Daumesnil:

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU and is discussing an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. Learn more at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office
Communication Department
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99
Fax: +33 1 53 69 76 90

SpaceRef staff editor.