October 25, 2017
– The European Space Agency has set up shop to spread some space.
ESAshop, the new official one-stop store for the European Space Agency's (ESA) apparel and accessories, launched online on Wednesday (Oct. 25).
"ESA has produced all kinds of merchandising over the years, but not in a centralized or easily accessible way," said Philippe Willekens, head of communication at ESA, in a statement. "This new, user-friendly store will be a place where people can purchase ESA products wherever they are in the world, and as such, convey the positive image of a 'United Space in Europe.'"
"United Space in Europe" is one of the three initial product lines in the new store. The shop lists men's, women's and kids'-style shirts, hats and jackets, as well as bags, buttons and smart phone cases.
A "Classic" line features the official ESA logo and the flags of its 22 member countries. The "Design" catalog includes original art, including silhouetted images of a rocket and a spacewalking astronaut, as well as a design featuring the slogan "Space is our middle name."
"United Space in Europe." A line of products in the new ESAshop highlights the members of the European Space Agency. (ESA)
The "United Space in Europe" product line features a map of Europe formed out of the repeating words for "European Space Agency" in the various language of ESA's member states, including French, Italian and German.
A fourth product line, specifically for children, will be added soon featuring ESA's mascot Paxi, a cartoon green alien.
The ESAshop is a collaboration with the German company Spreadshirt, which runs an on-demand service for printing of clothing and accessories. ESA provides the designs for the items offered in the ESAshop, and Spreadshirt handles production, fulfillment and customer service.
"We operate in 18 countries and deliver to over 190," said Philip Rooke, CEO of Spreadshirt. "The Spreadshirt model uses print-on-demand technology, meaning we only create a product when someone has made a purchase."
ESA is not the first government space agency to establish its own store. For example, the Canadian Space Agency has authorized the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa to sell to the public logo-emblazoned items through the Aeronautica boutique.
ESA logo apparel is now available through the ESAshop. (ESA)
NASA, as a U.S. federal agency, does not have an official store, though many of its centers host employee exchange shops and some have public online stores. NASA's official visitor centers also operate souvenir shops.
NASA does allow independent merchandisers limited use of its logo and other imagery on commercial products.
In addition to the newly-launched ESAshop, the European Space Agency also partners with several manufacturers to make its astronaut mission patches available to the public.
The European Space Agency's ESAshop can be accessed at esa.int/esashop.