The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. It is headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Environment Agency (EEA).
To ensure this operational provision, the GMES Space Component (GSC), managed by ESA, comprises two types of satellite missions that respond to European policy priorities and users’ needs: ESA's five families of dedicated Sentinels and missions from other space agencies, called Contributing Missions that provide valuable complementary observation capacity.
The new Sentinel missions will provide information for all domains for GMES, starting with the all-weather, day and night radar imaging from Sentinel-1 for land and ocean services. Sentinel-2 will deliver high-resolution optical imaging for land services and Sentinel-3 will provide services for for ocean and global land monitoring. Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 will provide data for atmospheric composition monitoring from geostationary and polar orbits, respectively.
The Space Component is in its pre-operational stage, serving users with satellite data currently available through the GMES Contributing Missions at national, European and international levels. GMES will become operational after launch of the first Sentinel mission.
The resulting services will bring a broad range of socio-economic benefits to many sectors of society. They will have the potential to significantly improve many environmental concerns such as natural resource management, food security, biodiversity and air-quality forecasting. In addition, information through GMES will lead to a better understanding of climate change issues.
Proposal to the Ministerial Council
The next GSC programmatic segment, GMES Space Component 3, aims to complete the requested GSC observational capacity. Its implementation in orbit will begin with the launch of Sentinel-1A, -2A and -3A in 2013-14 and and continue with Sentinel-5 precursor and Sentinel-4A, and all the foreseen B recurrent units.
This programme proposal builds on the need for a Low-Inclination Altimetry mission, through the contributing mission Jason-CS, and a GMES atmospheric monitoring mission from low earth orbit, with Sentinel-5, together with activities to enhance accessibility to data for users and to support the data uptake, in particular in ESA participating states.
While Jason-CS will allow the continuation of the global altimetry system that has been measuring global sea level since 1992, Sentinel-5 will respond to the need for continuous monitoring of atmospheric composition beyond 2018 with high temporal and spatial resolution, focusing on air quality and air composition–climate interaction.
GMES Space Component evolution studies, including gap analysis and vulnerability assessments are also foreseen under GSC-3 in order to ensure sustainable and affordable long-term data continuity for users.
The next programmatic period covers 2013-20 up to the launch and in-orbit validation of the proposed missions. Sentinel-5, carried onboard the MetOp-SG-A1 satellite, is expected to be the last mission to be launched during this period, now planned for 2020.