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N° 9–2020: Call for Media: Rapid action in response to coronavirus with Earth observation

29 May 2020

ESA and the European Commission invite media representatives to follow an online event on 5 June at 11:00 CEST where they will present the ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth observation’ dashboard, also known as RACE. The RACE platform provides access to key environmental, economic and social indicators to measure the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and monitor post-lockdown recovery.

Space data and coronavirus

Unique data from satellites are essential for understanding and monitoring our environment, and are increasingly important for daily applications. The use of Earth observation can help shed new light on societal and economic changes currently taking place owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

ESA and the European Commission have been working with European industry to investigate innovative approaches to monitor the impact of coronavirus lockdowns using data from the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinels as well as other Earth observation capabilities such as the Euro Data Cube and the Copernicus Data and Information Access Services. Together, they have developed the RACE dashboard which uses information derived from the latest satellite data to help monitor the impacts of the coronavirus lockdown and recovery on a local, regional and global scale.

The dashboard focuses on monitoring and analysing environmental parameters, such as air and water quality changes, agriculture productivity and economic activity (such as industrial production, construction and transport.)

Key speakers include ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes Josef Aschbacher, European Commission’s Deputy Director General for Defence Industry and Space Pierre Delsaux, and Anca Anghelea, Earth Observation Open Data Scientist.

The dashboard includes information derived from Earth observation satellite data provided by the Copernicus Sentinels and ESA Third Party Missions. The dashboard also includes contributions from Copernicus, Aerospacelab, Airbus, BIRA-IASB, CNR ISMAR, e-GEOS, EarthPulse, ECMWF, EMSA, EOX, Euro Data Cube, GMV, ICEEYE, KNMI, KSAT, Mundi Web Services, Planetek Hellas, RHEA, SERCO, S&T, S5P PAL, SEN4CAP, Sen4Stat, Sinergise, SISTEMA, SPACEKNOW, SRON, UCLouvain, University of Bremen and Vodafone.

Event programme
Moderation – European Commission’s Spokesperson, Sonya Gospodinova

11:00-11:05: Opening Remarks
11:05 -11:15: Pierre Delsaux, European Commission’s Deputy Director General for Defence Industry and Space
11:15-11:25: Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director for Earth Observation
11:25-11:35: Live demonstration of the new tool – Anca Anghelea
11:35-11:55: Q&A session
11:55-12:00: wrap-up

Access the livestreamed Press Conference:

Further information
More information about ESA Earth observation:

More information about ESA:

More information about the European Commission:

More information about European Union’s Copernicus Programme:

More information about EU Space Response to coronavirus:

Social media
Follow us at @ESA_EO, @defis_eu, @CopernicusEU.

About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.
ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

Learn more about ESA at

About the Copernicus Programme
Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme, which monitors our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of Europe. It delivers data, information and services based on satellite Earth observation data and in situ (non-space) data. The programme is funded, coordinated and managed by the European Commission in cooperation with partners such as ESA and EUMETSAT.

The Copernicus programme is served by a set of dedicated satellites (the Sentinel family) and contributing missions (existing commercial and public satellites). The Sentinel satellites are specifically designed to meet the needs of the Copernicus information services and their users.

Since the launch of Sentinel-1A in 2014, the European Union has initiated a process to place a complete constellation of almost 20 satellites in orbit before 2030. Today, there are seven Sentinel satellites in orbit, of four different types. Copernicus satellites, along with ground-based, airborne and seaborne measurement sensors, are providing vast amounts of global data.

The Copernicus services transform the wealth of satellite and in situ data into timely and actionable information by processing and analysing it. The services deliver datasets and time series that are comparable and searchable, ensuring that trends and changes are monitored. Patterns are examined and used to create better forecasts of, for example, the ocean and the atmosphere. Maps are derived from imagery, features and anomalies are identified and statistical information is extracted.

These value-adding activities are streamlined through six thematic streams of Copernicus services: the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS), the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) and the Copernicus Security Service.

The information services, as well as the data from which they are derived, are accessible on a full, free and open basis by anyone. This data and information are used by service providers, public authorities and international organisations to improve the quality of life for citizens of Europe and around the world, to monitor and mitigate climate change, and to preserve our fragile environment.

About the Copernicus Sentinels
The Copernicus Sentinels are a fleet of dedicated EU-owned satellites, designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Union's Copernicus environmental programme. The European Commission leads and coordinates this programme, to improve the management of the environment, safeguarding lives every day. ESA is in charge of the space component, responsible for developing the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union and ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus services, while the operations of the Copernicus Sentinels have been entrusted to ESA and EUMETSAT.