Skip to content
Historical Archives of the European Union

Greater access to files marks 60th Anniversary of ELDO Convention

To mark the 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention of the European Launcher Development Organisation, the HAEU and the European Space Agency Archives in Frascati digitised 53 selected files to facilitate research on Europe’s early efforts in space research cooperation.

29 February 2024

ELDO3121 collage

The European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), along with the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO), was set up to bridge the national space programmes of adhering European member states and advance European collaboration in space research and development. They were the precursors of the European Space Agency (ESA). ELDO’s coming into force on 29 February 1964 was a milestone in European space cooperation, and signalled Europe’s determination to develop its own space launcher for peaceful use.

To mark ELDO’s 60th anniversary, the Historical Archives of the European Union and the European Space Agency Archives in Frascati are pleased to make available for online consultation the digitized files of several dozen key documents from the ELDO fonds. The 53 newly digitised files, which date from the period between 1961 and 1971, shed light on the major discussions leading up to the ELDO Convention, its procedures for ratification, objectives, work programme and governance. Of particular note are documents from the preparatory conferences in 1961 in Strasbourg and at Lancaster House, the entry into force of the ELDO Convention, as well as later meetings of the ELDO Council in 1964 and the first Ministerial Conference of ELDO member states in 1966.

While ELDO was eventually dismantled in 1974 and the ESA set up in 1975, researchers interested in Europe’s early steps towards cooperation in space research and development—not to mention obstacles to that aim—have much to discover in this agency’s archival fonds.

Last update: 29 February 2024

Go back to top of the page