INTA, the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technologies, and CSIC, the National Research Council, have been present at ESAC since 1991 when LAEFF, the Laboratory for Space Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics, was founded. This enabled the Spanish scientific community to have a close cooperation with the ESA teams operating astronomical missions. In January 2010, LAEFF was integrated into the structure of the Centro de Astrobiología, a Joint Centre between INTA and CSIC. The team at ESAC became the nucleus of the CAB’s newly created Department of Astrophysics. In 2012 CAB ESAC moved to a purpose-built D building at ESAC.
Research at CAB ESAC is carried out in diverse areas of astrophysics, including investigations into the interstellar medium, the behavior of brown dwarfs as well as solar, stellar and extragalactic physics. CAB ESAC researchers participate or have participated in the development, operation and exploitation of an impressive number of groundbreaking space projects in the past, present and future. This includes such missions as INTEGRAL, Herschel, GAIA, Bepi-Colombo, PLATO and Athena. CAB ESAC is also involved in the development and maintenance of the Astronomical Data Archives for space missions (INES, OMC, CoRot) and ground-based telescopes (GTC, CAHA) in the framework of the Virtual Observatory project.