ESA title

Security services

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ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / Copernicus

The objective of the Copernicus Security Services is to support the related European Union policies in the following priority areas:

  • Border surveillance – with the main aim of contributing to the implementation of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System, by supporting the mapping and monitoring of border areas. This component of the service is currently under the responsibility of FRONTEX.


  • Support to EU External Action – through the detection and monitoring of security threats. The service can also contribute to improving crisis prevention, preparedness and response capacities. The European Satellite Centre (EU SatCen) is currently in charge of this service component.


  • Maritime surveillance – with the objective of ensuring the safe use of the sea and securing Europe’s maritime borders. The corresponding challenges mainly relate to safety of navigation, marine pollution, law enforcement, and overall security. This component has been assigned to the European Maritime Safety Agency, EMSA.


The service builds on a series of projects developed within the Framework Programmes 6 and 7 (FP6/FP7), funded by the EC and on ESA’s GMES Service Element (GSE) projects such as the MARitime Security Service, MARISS. 

MARISS service
MARISS service

Both radar and optical imaging, from high to very high resolution Sentinel and contributing missions are used to support security applications.

In particular, Sentinel-1, with its day-and-night, all-weather radar capabilities is one of the main data sources for maritime surveillance services, while Sentinel-2 supports the generation of frequently-updated background reference maps.

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