With the second Copernicus-dedicated Sentinel satellite just months away from launch, ESA and France’s CNES space agency, have signed a collaborative agreement on managing and accessing Sentinel data.
The Sentinel family of satellites is being developed to meet the operational needs of Europe’s environment monitoring programme, Copernicus. The first in the fleet, Sentinel-1A, has been in orbit for just under a year while the next, Sentinel-2A, is scheduled for launch in June.
The data provided by the Earth-observing missions are freely accessible for Copernicus Services, as well as to scientific and other users.
At an event held today at ESA’s Headquarters in Paris, ESA and France signed an Understanding for the Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment Cooperation, which aims to facilitate Sentinel data exploitation in the country.
Signing on Frances’s behalf was Thierry Duquesne, CNES Director for Strategy, Programmes and International Relations.
Under the agreement, CNES will set up a ‘national mirror site’ in Toulouse for hosting and distributing Sentinel data, ensuring the hosting, access and redistribution of Sentinel data for the derivation of value-adding environmental services and information.
In addition, radar data from the Sentinel-1 mission will be received at France’s Vigisat ground station in Brest under the CleanSeaNet initiative of the European Maritime Safety Agency.
“This agreement is a key element for Copernicus and an important step for its success in France,” said Mr Duquesne.
As coordinator of the Copernicus ‘space component’, ESA supports national initiatives by establishing direct and efficient access to Sentinel data, providing technical support on the setting up of data acquisition and dissemination, as well as making data processing and distribution software available to national initiatives.
“With the signature of this agreement, the use of Sentinel data across Europe is extended and the Copernicus network is growing. France is a very important partner in this thanks to its very active engagement in Copernicus and the Collaborative Ground Segment,” said Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes.
France is the sixth Participating State to sign the agreement after Greece, Norway, Italy, Germany and Finland.