Earth observation missions

ESA has been dedicated to observing the Earth from space since the launch of its first meteorological mission, Meteosat, in 1977. The later series of Meteosat satellites plus ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat, GOCE and CryoSat-2 have provided us with invaluable data about the Earth, its climate and changing environment.


ESA mission controllers manage some of the most sophisticated Earth observation spacecraft ever built. Envisat, ERS-2, Proba-1, GOCE and CryoSat-2 are in orbit, while the mission control infrastructure for several more missions is in development. An additional mission, SMOS, is being operated for ESA by CNES, France's space agency, from Toulouse.


Current missions

GOCE

--

Data from GOCE (Gravity Field & Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) are helping derive accurate measurements of ocean circulation, sea-level change and terrestrial ice dynamics. GOCE was launched on 17 March 2009 and is controlled from ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany.

Full story

SMOS

--

Launched on 2 November 2009, ESA's 'Water Mission', SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is being operated by CNES, France's space agency. SMOS is playing a key role in monitoring climate change and is the first-ever satellite designed to map sea surface salinity and soil moisture on a global scale.

Full story

CryoSat-2

CryoSat-2
--

CryoSat-2, launched 8 April 2010, is carrying a sophisticated radar altimeter to accurately measure floating sea ice thickness and survey the surface of ice sheets. ESOC's ground segment uses the ESTRACK station in Kiruna; contact is established for about 10 minutes, 11 times per day, to send commands and download data.

Full story

Future missions

ADM-Aeolus

Aeolus: ESA's wind mission
--
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus) will provide global observations of wind profiles from space, improving the quality of weather forecasts and boosting our understanding of atmospheric dynamics. The ground segment is being developed at ESOC, with Kiruna as one possible ground station.
Full story

Swarm

Artist's impression of Swarm constellation
--
The three-satellite Swarm mission, due for launch in mid-2011, will provide the best-ever survey of Earth's geomagnetic field, boosting scientists' understanding of the Earth's interior and climate. The spacecraft will operate in polar orbits between 400 and 530 km altitude. Ground control will operate from a Dedicated Control Room at ESOC.
Full story

GMES/Sentinels

GMES
--
GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) will provide autonomous and independent access to information for policy-makers. ESA is working on multi-mission facilities and ground segment operations, as well as the space component based on a series of satellites missions (the Sentinels).
Full story

GMES/Sentinels

GMES
--
GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) will provide autonomous and independent access to information for policy-makers. ESA is working on multi-mission facilities and ground segment operations, as well as the space component based on a series of satellites missions (the Sentinels).
Full story
Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.