The current expansion of ESA’s technical heart, nestled beside North Sea dunes on the Netherlands coast, as seen from the air.
The European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, is ESA’s single largest establishment and hub of Europe’s space efforts. This is the place where European space missions are born, then guided through development while new technologies for space are investigated.
The site is also home to around 35 technical laboratories specialising in different aspects of engineering for space as well as Europe’s largest satellite test centre.
Orange cranes highlight the two current construction projects on site. On the dune side the new Hertz 2.0 radio frequency test facility is taking shape, intended to accommodate the largest future space antennas and entire satellites. Near the left side base of the photo is the site of the International Meeting Facility, which will serve as the main reception and focal point for the entire establishment.
ESTEC’s main building on the dune side is distinguished by an almost 200-m long main corridor with side wings extending rightward from it. Near the very centre of the picture is a small white dome – home to ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge for high-gravity testing.
Above it is ESTEC’s white-hued Laboratory building and above that is the ESTEC Test Centre for evaluation of full-scale satellites. It is equipped with a suite of simulation facilities to reproduce every aspect of the space environment.
At the bottom left of the photo is ESTEC’s tower complex and restaurant, built by renowned Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck. On the right side of the photo across the car park is the Erasmus Innovation Centre focused on human spaceflight.
This photo was taken by ESA Business Control and Admin Manager Felicity Sheasby during a helicopter flight over the dunes.
Learn more about the history of ESTEC, stretching back to the 1960s.