More than 40 Earth Observation missions team up to provide data to the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme

Satellites join to monitor the Earth
5 September 2008

ESA, as coordinator of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Space Component and related data access, received in response to a call 12 proposals offering to provide data from more than 40 European and non-European Earth Observation satellites to GMES Services over the next years.

Among the satellites are ESA Member States’ missions, such as France’s Spot and Pleiades satellites, Germany’s TerraSAR-X, Italy’s CosmoSkyMed, the UK-led DMC constellation (including the soon-to-be launched DMC-UK2 and Spain’s Deimos-1), as well as Canada’s Radarsat, Israel’s EROS and other non-European missions distributed through European companies. In addition, ESA will act as data provider for its own Earth Observation (EO) missions, such as Envisat and ERS-2, as well as its Third Party Missions.

Some agencies, such as ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), are offering their data free of charge, while others are offering favourable conditions to the GMES Services.

Hurricane Gustav
Hurricane Gustav captured by Envisat

The GMES programme is a European Union-led initiative in partnership with ESA to combine ground- and space-based observations to develop an integrated environmental monitoring capability.

ESA coordinates the flow of EO data into GMES Services and the access to these data.

As primary recipients of these data, the European Commission has identified five initial GMES Core Services projects, including three fast-track services focusing on land, marine and emergency services and two pilot service projects focusing on security and atmospheric composition. These GMES Services will start their preoperational phase in the coming months.

The fleet of GMES contributing missions is constantly increasing, with the latest launch of the German 5-satellite RapidEye constellation on 29 August 2008.

GMES Data Access Portal
Data Access Portal

"With the successful launch of the entire RapidEye satellite constellation, RapidEye is excited to be able to immediately participate and contribute in such an important ESA-led cooperation as the GMES Space component and the Data Access project," RapidEye CEO Wolfgang Biedermann said.

As coordinator, ESA will harmonise the data flow and data access based on harmonised protocols and standards developed by European Space Agencies through the Heterogeneous Mission Accessibility (HMA) Project.

To ensure GMES Services have quick, easy and coherent access to the data from all of these missions, ESA will provide a dedicated Data Access Portal where GMES Services can obtain relevant information and access the data products. Many of data sets will be distributed relying on the operators of contributing satellite missions.

Preoperational data provision to the five Core Services projects is planned to begin before the end of 2008.

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