With the first Copernicus satellite now operational, ESA and the DLR German Aerospace Center have signed an arrangement on managing and accessing Sentinel data.
The Sentinel family of satellites is being developed to meet the operational needs of Europe’s environment monitoring programme, Copernicus. The first in the fleet, Sentinel-1A, was launched in April and began its operational life a month ago.
The data provided by the Earth-observing missions are freely accessible for Copernicus Services, as well as to scientific and other users.
At an event held last week at the ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, ESA and Germany signed an Understanding for the Sentinel Collaborative Ground Segment Cooperation, which aims to facilitate Sentinel data exploitation in the country.
Signing on Germany’s behalf was Gerd Gruppe, a member of the DLR’s Executive Board.
Under the agreement, DLR will coordinate ground segment activities in Germany – such as hosting, distributing, ensuring access and archiving Sentinel data – and act as an interface between ESA and national initiatives. DLR also plans to cooperate with different European partners and institutions.
“Only when data actually reach users can the Copernicus benefits be realised – in the right place, in the right format and at the right moment,” said Dr Gruppe. “This understanding helps achieve this for users in Germany.”
As coordinator of the Copernicus ‘space component’, ESA supports national initiatives by establishing direct and efficient access to Sentinel data, providing technical advice on the setting up of data acquisition and dissemination, as well as making data processing and archiving software available to national initiatives.
“The collaborative ground segments will improve the access of users in Germany to Copernicus data very much. ESA is supporting its Member States to improve the access via a standard interface,” said Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes and co-signatory of the Understanding.
Germany is the fourth Participating State to sign the agreement after Greece, Norway and Italy.