ESA ESTEC and CNES are collaborating on the design of a 'gap-filler' mission to ensure the operational continuity of the Vegetation mission, using a PROBA like platform.
Vegetation sensors are flying on SPOT4 and 5 and their data is being used by a multitude of users for research and operational services, including services developed in the context of GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security). The Vegetation mission will be continued by ESA's GMES Sentinel-3 with enhanced performance, building on the lessons learned and the experience of the users.
An intermediate mission is being considered to cover potential gaps between the SPOT series and the GMES Sentinel. Studies have been undertaken by ESA with industry, internally and in cooperation with CNES. They also include concurrent engineering sessions in ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) and CNES sister facility Centre d’Ingenierie Concourrante (CIC) and involve ESA and CNES staff as well as users and industry. These concurrent engineering activities will allow technical and programmatic dossiers to be consolidated quickly, which is essential for fast implementation inherent to a gap filler.
The coordinated action will also show the potential of new engineering methods and is a further step on the standardisation of data transfer and protocols essential to the future development of concurrent engineering in the space sector.