Greek Space Agency

Exploring the Cosmos


From space travel to space technology development, GSA has been founded to advance Greece’s participation in space exploration. Space technology development and application are becoming increasingly central to economic, industrial and social prosperity of nations worldwide. GSA is a private, non-profit organization that promotes, via a variety of forums and international programs and missions, scientific and technological breakthroughs to be benefited by all Greek citizens.

It is the GSA’s goal to ensure that Greece once again regains its role as a leader in space exploration activities and the study of the solar system and deep space, via international collaborations with scientists, space programs and agencies around Europe and across the globe.

Space Exploration

“I suppose we shall soon travel by air-vessels; make air instead of sea voyages; and at length find our way to the Moon, in spite of the want of atmosphere.”
— Lord Byron, 1882

Ancient Greek astronomers have laid the foundations of scientific astronomy. By applying logical and geometric observations, they recognized that the moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth revolves around the sun, calculated the size of the Earth, and figured out it was round.

“Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock.”
—Anaxagoras, 5th century BC

Pythagoras, Thales, Anaxagoras, Heracleides, Aristarchus, Hipparchus and Ptolemy were among the early scientists to attempt to define the stellar world and develop an understanding of the Earth and our solar system; Greek satirist Lucian wrote about an imaginary voyage to the moon in the 2nd century AD. Space travel, however, remained science fiction until the 20th century.

“It is complete nonsense to believe flying machines will ever work.”
— Sir Stanley Mosley, 1905

A Brief History of Space Travel

Date Event
October 4, 1957 Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite
January 2, 1959 Luna 1, first man-made satellite to orbit the sun, is launched by the USSR
April 1, 1960 Tiros 1, the first successful weather satellite, is launched by the US
April 12, 1961 Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to enter space and return safely on Vostok 1
March 18, 1965 Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei A. Leonov performs the first space walk, lasting 12 minutes
July 20, 1969 USA’s Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon
December 15, 1970 Soviet Venera 7 is the first probe to soft-land on Venus
April 19, 1971 Salyut 1 space station is launched by the USSR
November 13, 1971 American Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet: Mars. Over the next year, it maps 100% of the Martian surface
March 2, 1972 Launch of unmanned Pioneer 10: first space probe to an outer planet, the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, the first spacecraft to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter, and the first man-made object to leave the solar system
December, 1972 Scientists designate Cignus X-1 as the first probable black hole
November 3, 1973 American Mariner 10 is launched; over the next year, it returns photographs of Venus and Mercury
September 3, 1976 Viking 2 lands on Mars
September 1, 1979 Pioneer 11 reaches Saturn, flying to within 13,000 miles and taking the first close-up photographs
July 2, 1985 European Space Agency launches the Giotto spacecraft, which encounters Halley’s Comet in 1986, and Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup in 1992
January, 1986 Voyager 2 flies past Uranus
April 24, 1990 Space Shuttle Discovery deploys the Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope astronomical observatory – the first space-based optical telescope that confirms an expanding universe
March 31, 1997 After 25 years of operation, routine telemetry and ground control with Pioneer 10 is terminated, with Pioneer 10 being 6.7 billion miles from Earth, traveling at 28,000 miles per hour

The new millennium saw a new trend of privately funded space-exploration. The year 2000 was host to the first commercial human spaceflight, followed by the beginning of the era of space tourism shortly thereafter (2001).

“We’ll go into orbit. We’ll go to the Moon. This business has no limits.”
— Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, January 2005

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