While Athens burns and the Eurozone is facing the wrath of Greeks, the European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully launched its new lightweight rocket from the Kourou base in French Guiana in South America (13 Feb 2012).
On its website, ESA states that the ‘Vega launcher development started in 2003. Seven Member States contributed to the programme: Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland’. And just to clarify matters, as we are told by the good folks at Wikipedia, ‘ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries Switzerland and Norway as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU’.
 “European Space Agency” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Space_Agency.