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ESA’s technical heart

Credits: ESA-SJM Photography

An aerial image of ESA’s technical heart, the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, making it look as if you could pick it up in your hands.

Nestled beside coastal dunes in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, ESTEC is ESA’s largest establishment and hub of Europe’s space efforts. Combining the downward view angle with defocused surrounding terrain, known as ‘tilt-shifting’, makes the entire sprawling complex appear miniaturised.

On the dune side stands the main building, home to ESA laboratories and mission teams, distinguished by an almost 200-m long main corridor. The central white-hued lab building extends forward from it. The small white dome beside it houses ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge for high-gravity testing.

To the left of the main building is the restaurant and tower complex built by renowned Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck. On its right can be seen ESTEC’s Test Centre for full-scale testing of satellites, equipped with a suite of simulation facilities to reproduce every aspect of the space environment.

In front of the car park to the left is the three-block T-building, home to ESA’s Galileo team, in the centre stands the Erasmus centre for human spaceflight with the headquarters of ESA’s Technology Transfer and Patent Office beside it.

This photo was taken during a hobby flight by ESA biomedical engineer Arnaud Runge.

Source : European Space Agency

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