April 29, 2015

Copernicus

The ambition of Copernicus is to give Europe its own independent capability to observe and monitor Earth. Initiated by ESA and the European Union in 1998, this programme started rolling out its core services in 2014.

The Copernicus programme—formerly GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security)—is intended to give Europe an independent Earth-observation and monitoring capability. Initiated in 1998 by ESA and the European Union, the programme began deploying its core operational services in 2014. These services aim to deliver a comprehensive and synoptic view of the planet at all times, to give greater insight into environmental and security issues. For environmental monitoring, Copernicus will make it possible to track changes in land use and land cover, identify high-risk geological areas and detect pollution of anthropogenic origin (oil spills, etc.). For security aspects, it will aid enforcement of international treaties, support peacekeeping operations and enable European border surveillance missions.

To accomplish these missions, Copernicus will rely on the space assets and ground resources of member states participating in the programme. CNES is already playing a central role in this team effort by providing satellites like Spot, Jason and Pleiades. Alongside these national assets, Copernicus will also be able to call on the Sentinel satellites designed specifically for the programme. The first in the series, Sentinel-1A, was launched on 3 April 2014, followed by Sentinel-2A on 23 June 2015 and Sentinel-3A on 16 February 2016. Copernicus is Europe’s contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), an Earth-observation programme initiated by the EU, the United States, Japan and South Africa.