The European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), located in Noordwijk, is ESA’s largest facility and the technical heart of Europe’s space efforts.

All ESA’s space missions are developed and managed from ESTEC, where the Science, Earth Observation, Navigation, and Space programmes are also based.

ESTEC is home to Europe’s largest spacecraft test facility. This 3,000 m² cleanroom complex houses Europe’s largest vacuum chamber; Europe’s loudest sound system, to inflate satellites with simulated rocket sound; and Europe’s most powerful hydraulic shaking table, which produces vibrations comparable to those of a major earthquake.

ESTEC also has a set of world-class technical laboratories, specialized in all aspects of satellite and space technology. These include a number of robotics labs: the Planetary Robotics Lab, for rovers and surface explorers, and the Orbital Robotics Lab, for autonomous guidance, navigation, and control of spacecrafts in weightless or low-gravity conditions.

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