The European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) is located in the Community of Madrid. This is the center of the European Space Agency (ESA) that specializes in astronomy and space science. That is, the ESAC hosts the centers of scientific operations of all the planetary and astronomical missions undertaken by the ESA, in addition to its scientific archives.
The ESAC is exactly located in the Madrid municipality of Villanueva de la Cañada, right in the Regional Park of the Middle Basin of the Guadarrama River, and next to the Villafranca Castle.
ESAC operates, among other institutions, the Data Processing Center of the European SMOS payload, which belongs to the ESA Earth Observation program. Also in the ESAC is a headquarters of the Astrobiology Center, which depends on both the National Institute of Aerospace Technology and the Higher Council for Scientific Research.
Among the most important missions that have been coordinated since the ESAC of Madrid are the XMM-Newton, a sensitive X-ray telescope that is used for the study of very energetic phenomena, such as active black holes; the Mars Express, which investigates the planet Mars, or the Rosetta probe, which reached the comet Chury in 2014 with the Philae module.
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