European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA is an international organisation with 22 member states. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. The purpose of the agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems.
The role of the agency within the project has been two fold. For the full duration of the project, it has aimed at bringing a space industry perspective to the work of the project. With respect to this role, ESA has been an ‘end user’ and a ‘facilitator’. It has contributed to maximising the project output by funding activities complementary to those initially anticipated in the proposal submitted to EU. In particular, ESA contributed to the technical development of the activities at Norsk Titanium (wire-based process), the University of Birmingham (development of printer working under different gravity conditions) and IREPA LASER (blown powder process). ESA has been performing a significant amount of material characterisation activities, including non-destructive testing and mechanical and microstructural characterisations.
During the first three years of the project ESA has been the ‘Project Manager’. This role has been transferred to MTC upon the departure of the ESA ‘Project Manager’.