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N° 33–1993: 109th ESA Council meeting: Decisions on the Earth observation and data relay programmes

25 June 1993

At its 109th meeting held in Paris on 23/24 June, the ESA Council decided to go ahead with the polar platform programme, Envisat mission, Metop preparatory programme and work on the DRS data relay satellite over the period 1993-1995.

This decision clearly reflects the ESA Member States' concern to give Europe the most advanced means with which to help draw up a genuine inventory of the Earth and its environment. After ERS-1, which was launched in July 1991 and whose results are exceptional, and then ERS-2 which should take over in 1994, it is the Polar Orbit Earth observation Mission (POEM) programme which, from 1998, will provide continuity - first with Envisat, an experimental ecological monitoring mission, and then, using a derived platform, a meteorological observation mission, Metop. The purpose of the geostationary DRS satellite will be to guarantee European autonomy in transmitting data between satellites or platforms in low-Earth orbit - in particular, Envisat and Metop - and the ground stations.

Council also approved the agreement between ESA and France on the funding and operation of the Guiana Space Centre.

During the meeting, Council authorised the Executive to take the necessary steps to meet (Associate State) Finland's application to become a full ESA Member State.

Lastly, Council's next meeting on 13/14 October 1993 should enable the ESA Member States to decide on implementation of the other programmes, in particular, in the areas of space transportation systems and cooperation on crewed flights.