Advanced missions need advanced testing. To save time and money, we offer external partners a unique infrastructure, which would not make economic sense to develop multiple times at multiple places for single missions

We have pooled resources to establish and develop world-beating test facilities that are available to all European space – and, indeed, non-space – companies or organisations.

ESA’s own R&D activities and technical standard-setting are supported through specialist technical teams as well as a suite of well-equipped laboratories at ESTEC and across a number of Member States that focus on all aspects of the space environment.

For missions, the labs examine each item, instrument and piece of software to be used in space, both individually and in conjunction, verifying its suitability for use by simulating the conditions experienced in space or during launch as closely as possible.

The labs’ work is not finished once a satellite is in orbit. They remain at the disposal of project teams to advise on the causes of mission anomalies, research potential fixes and disseminate lessons learned. These labs are available to service ESA missions and projects and to support research institutions and companies of ESA Member States.


Search the lab you need using the service or competence domain filter:

Life Support and Physical Sciences Instrumentation Laboratory

Supports work on life and physical sciences instrumentation and experiments for microgravity research, life support and environmental control and other exploration related activities.

Materials & Electrical Components Laboratory

Made up of more than 20 dedicated experimental facilities and hundreds of instruments overall, the Materials & Electrical Components Laboratory guarantees an optimal choice of electrical components, materials and processes for ESA missions and external projects. This is accomplished by considering the unique environmental challenges involved in building for space, and, additionally, investigating failures to ensure that similar issues do not occur on future missions.

Mechanical Systems Laboratory

Satellite equipment and instruments must be thermally controlled to withstand the very harsh environment of space. They must also survive the tough ride to orbit. The Mechanical Systems Laboratory performs thermal and mechanical testing for small-scale space equipment and payloads.

Microwave Laboratory

The Microwave Laboratory is a group of world-class test facilities designed to support space activities in the fields of Radio Frequency Testing and R&D, Precision Time & Frequency, Radio Frequency Life Tests, GNSS Payload Testing and General Purpose Microwave Testing up to 320 GHz. Microwave testing up to 320 GHz.

Navigation Laboratory

The Navigation Laboratory investigates the full range of navigation applications, from practical to scientific. The navigation laboratory represents both an engineering tool and a tests & measurement facility to support the work of ESA internal and external customers while performing tests, analysis and characterisation of navigation systems.

Optics and Opto-Electronics Laboratory

The Optics and Opto-Electronics Laboratory (OOEL) is a joint laboratory of the Optics (TEC-MMO) and Opto-Electronics (TEC-MME) sections at ESTEC. The OOEL provides expert advice with a state-of-the-art laboratory.

Remote Sensing Laboratory

The Remote Sensing Laboratory is a set of facilities supporting research related to a broad range of systems for both the space and the ground segments

Software Systems Laboratory

The Software Systems Laboratory supplies hardware and software infrastructure as well as specialised equipment and tools to support R&D activities and missions at ESA, including flight software (platform and payload onboard software) and ground software for systems supporting spacecraft development, specifically functional verification.

Space Environments and Effects Facility

ESA's Space Environments and Effects Section maintains a computational facility used for analysis of space environments (energetic particle radiation, plasmas, atmospheres, micro-particles, contamination, etc.) and their effects on space systems including the acquisition and analysis of in-flight data and the development of environment and effects models.


To ensure the readiness of an entire satellite ESA has created a 3000 square meters cleanroom complex nestled in sandy dunes along the Dutch coast, filled with test equipment to simulate all aspects of spaceflight: the ESTEC Test Centre.

Our facilities share the same goal:

To enable and support future missions and keep Europe’s tech industry competitive.

We support the development of the newest technologies for Europe.