European Space Sector


The most iconic part of the European space sector is the European Space Agency (ESA) – world’s second largest space agency, best known for its landing on comet 67P (aka Churyumov–Gerasimenko) with the Philae lander. Ariane rocket is another iconic part, however there are hundreds of other companies, from huge international giants to small, disruptive startups born in Europe, creating a vast, independent ecosystem harvesting the benefits of space exploration. In this section we will take a closer look into what Europe does in space, who are the players worth looking at and how to build your career in the European space sector.


Largest companies, multi-national, offering a wide range of products and services, often with a roots in defense industry

  • Airbus Defence and Space
  • Safran
  • Thales Alenia Space
  • AVIO
  • OHB
  • QinetiQ


From large to small, companies focused on a specific parts of the space industry

  • SES
  • Eutelsat
  • Arianespace
  • Reaction Engines Ltd.
  • RUAG Space
  • Jena-Optronik

Space 4.0

New companies, either startups or formerly starups, striving for further commercialization of space

  • PLD Space
  • Active Space Technologies
  • Space Structures GmbH
  • Cevotec
  • Creotech Instruments


New companies, either startups or formerly starups, striving for further commercialization of space

European Space Agency HQ

Headquarters of the European Space Agency


ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre


ESA’s European Space Operations Centre


ESA Centre for Earth Observation


ESA’s European Astronaut Centre


ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre

Redu Centre

Part of ESA’s network of the ground stations used to control and test satellites on orbit. Also a location of the Space Weather Data Centre storing space weather data archive and an infrastructure for related services.


ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications

Lampoldshausen Centre

Airbus-Safran Launchers design, development and manufacturing center of the propulsion systems. Features open air and vacuum rocket test rigs.

Ottobrunn Site

Airbus Defence & Space Ottobrunn site is manufacturing various components for satellites, space probes, scientific instruments and propulsion components.

Guiana Space Centre

Le Centre Spatial Guyanais, Europe’s space port in French Guiana co-owned by CNES and ESA with Arianespace facilities and a military base of Forces armées en Guyane, securing the spaceport.

Esrange Space Center

Space and research center focused on sounding rockets and high altitude balloons.

Andøya Space Center

Sounding rocket and balloon launch site, ground station, observatory, and a test site used for defense applications.


German national aeronautics and space research centre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., space agency of Germany


French National Center for Space Studies, Centre national d’études spatiales, the space agency of France

Toulouse Space Center

CNES’s space research and development center.

PLD Space HQ

Headquarters of the Spanish rocket startup PLD Space

PLD Space's Propulsion Test Facilities

Liquid rocket engine test stand owned by PLD Space


Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, part of the Airbus Defence & Space, one of the world’s leading satellite manufacturers

Zero 2 infinity

Company working on launching rockets from balloons (rockoons) and a high altitude passenger balloon flights


Swedish Space Corporation, Svenska rymdaktiebolaget, develops various space-related technologies, and operates Esrange Space Center


Headquarters of OHB, company developing a wide range of space-related technologies, from antennas through satellites to facilities for ISS Columbus module.

QinetiQ Space

Space branch of QinetiQ providing end-to-end solutions for the space sector.

Creotech Instruments

Space 4.0 company focused on manufacturing spacecraft components

Kongsberg Defence Systems

Services provider and a manufacturer in the defense and aerospace industries. Their space-related activities include manufacturing of various components for Ariane and numerous ESA spacecrafts.


Manufacturer of the systems and components for ground segment

European Reusable Launch Vehicles: CNES

European Reusable Launch Vehicles: CNES

French Space Agency took a familiar path of the Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing, leading the way towards ArianeNEXT, successor for the Ariane 6 marking the next level in price reduction.

European Reusable Launch Vehicles: DLR

European Reusable Launch Vehicles: DLR

German Space Agency proposed a path towards European Reusable Launch Vehicle – SpaceLiner. From small ReFEx, through Callisto, RLV-Demo and Semi RLV it will increasingly develop expertise in hypersonics and rapid re-usability towards making launchers operate almost like regular jetliners.

The Model T of Space, revolution among giants

The Model T of Space, revolution among giants

Airbus begun first ever serial production of a full scale satellites, which is the first step for the revolution in space economy, the revolution of cutting costs of the most expensive part in running the space company – the satellite constellations.

Avio releases new details on future Vega rockets

Avio releases new details on future Vega rockets

During the International Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2017 an Italian rocket manufacturer Avio S.p.A. released additional details of its upcoming additions to the Vega rocket family. Vega L The biggest news of the show was the announcement of the Vega L - a...

ESA Moon Village – what it really is?

ESA Moon Village – what it really is?

European Space Agency’s Moon Village is seen by many only as a lunar habitat, however reality is much more complex and interesting. It will become a large international collaboration between institutional and commercial partners aimed at exploring the moon and utilising its resources in a long term, sustainable way.

Prometheus, ASL’s future rocket engine

Prometheus, ASL’s future rocket engine

Airbus-Safran Launchers is working for a next generation of the main stage rocket engines, promising reduction of costs by 1/10th and reusability up to 5 times.

Best space-related iOS apps

Best space-related iOS apps

Ever looked for space and astronomy-related apps? Or wanted to experiment with a new one? In this guide you’ll find all of the best and most interesting apps for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch!

Interview with an astronaut – Pedro Duque

Interview with an astronaut – Pedro Duque

We at TechForSpace were lucky enough to have some of our questions answered by Pedro Duque, Spanish astronaut and ESA engineer. The topics range from the psychology of space flight to energy sources and space debris.

Europe in space, 2015 overview

Europe in space, 2015 overview

Highlights of the events in European space exploration. Through ESA to the Arianespace, an overview of the key and interesting events that happened during 2015, along with a peek into 2016 and beyond.