European Space Agency – ESA is an intergovernmental organisation which aim is to support and popularize the research of space and space technology in its member states and cooperating states.
After American NASA and Russian ROSCOSMOSS is ESA the third most important space agency in the world. ESA was established in 1975 by agreement of intergovernmental “Treaty of establishing of European Space Agency” with main headquarters in Paris and with technology centres in Spain (Astronomy Centre), Netherlands (Technology Centre), Italy (Earth Observation Centre) and in Germany (Centre for Space Operations and European Astronaut Centre).
ESA has its spaceport in French Guyana in South America. At present has ESA 20 member states (Belgium, Czech Republic,Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). These member states contributes to the budget of ESA which is almost 4 billion EUR per year. Other states of European Union are at present in various phases of preparation for their membersip in ESA. A special cooperating state of ESA is Canada.
Home web portal of ESA – http://www.esa.int
Cooperation of Slovakia with ESA – official documents