The European Space Agency (ESA)
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA is an international organisation with 17 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
For more information on the European Space Agency, visit www.esa.int.
ERS-2 - Radar Satellite
ESA launched ERS-2 in 1995. With a core payload of two specialised radars and an infrared imaging sensor, as well as an instrument designed to monitor ozone levels in the atmosphere, ERS-2 collected a wealth of valuable data on Earth and its environment.
This mission contributed to an extensive archive of image data, and was called upon to monitor natural disasters such as severe flooding and earthquakes. The ERS-2 mission ended on 5 September 2011.
For more information on the ERS, visit the ERS website at Earth Online.
Launched on 1 March 2002 on an Ariane-5 rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana, Envisat was the largest Earth observation spacecraft ever built.
The eight-tonne satellite orbited Earth more than 50 000 times over 10 years – twice its planned lifetime. The mission delivered thousands of images and a wealth of data used to study the workings of the Earth system and provided insights into factors contributing to climate change.
The end of the mission was declared on 9 May 2012, but ten years of Envisat's archived data continues to be exploited for studying our planet.For more information on Envisat please visit the Envisat Website at Earth Online.
Sentinel-1A / B
Sentinel-1 is a two satellite constellation with the prime objectives of Land and Ocean monitoring. The goal of the mission is to provide C-Band SAR data continuity following the retirement of ERS-2 and the end of the Envisat mission.
To accomplish this the satellites carry a C-SAR sensor, which offers medium and high resolution imaging in all weather conditiions. The C-SAR is capable of obtaining night imagery and detecting small movement on the ground, which makes it useful for land and sea monitoring.
The Sentinel-2 mission is a land monitoring constellation of two satellites that provide high resolution optical imagery and provide continuity for the current SPOT and Landsat missions.
The mission provides a global coverage of the Earth's land surface every 10 days with one satellite and 5 days with 2 satellites, making the data of great use in on-going studies.
The satellites are equipped with the state-of-the-art MSI (Multispectral Imager) instrument, that offers high-resolution optical imagery.
The Proba-V mission provides multispectral images to study the evolution of the vegetation cover on a daily and global basis. The 'V' stands for Vegetation.
The mission, developed as part of ESA's Proba Programme, is an ESA EO mission providing global coverage every two days, with latitudes 35-75°N and 35-56°S covered daily, and between 35°N and 35°S every 2 days.
The Proba-V imager's continent-spanning 2250 km field of view collects light in the blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared wavebands, ideal for monitoring plant and forest growth as well as inland water bodies. The Vegetation instrument can distinguish between different land cover types and plant species, including crops, to reveal their health, as well as detect water bodies and vegetation burn scars.