European Space Agency Mission Patches
The European Space Agency (ESA) is second only to NASA when it comes to space exploration. Established in 1975, the ESA is an international organization with 22 member countries headquartered in Paris, France. The ESA has participated in a number of Space Shuttle missions, providing equipment, astronauts, and scientists. They have also provided scientific research aboard the Russian Mir space station. They are one of the major partners in the International Space Station and are one of the leaders in Earth observation, science and telecommunication, and unmanned exploration of the Solar System. The ESA operates and maintains a major spaceport called the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, located in the country of French Guiana. Their main launch vehicle is the Ariane 5, which is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launch and development. Many of the ESA's mission patch design feature more abstract designs that their space-faring counterparts.