ESA has been dedicated to observing Earth from space ever since the launch of its first Meteosat meteorological satellite in 1977. Following the success of this first mission, the subsequent series of Meteosat satellites, ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat provided us with a wealth of valuable data about Earth, its climate and changing environment.
It is crucial, however, that we continue to learn more about our planet if we are to understand the Earth system and its processes, especially within the context of global change. This will equip us better for predicting the effects a changing climate may bring.
As our quest for knowledge continues to grow, so does our demand for accurate satellite data to be used for numerous practical applications for protecting and securing the environment.
Responding to these needs, ESA's Living Planet Programme comprises a science and research element, which includes the Earth Explorer missions, and an Earth Watch element, which is designed to facilitate the delivery of Earth observation data for use in operational services.
Earth Watch includes the well-established meteorological missions with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat).