ESA has selected Italian company Leonardo to build the main instrument for the upcoming FLEX satellite to study the health of Earth’s vegetation.At an event held today in Florence, Italy, Leonardo signed a €74 million contract to design, build and test the spectrometer for ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer over the next four years.Planned for launch by 2022, it will detect and measure the light emitted by plants as they convert sunlight and the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide into energy.
So far, eight missions have been selected for implementation. Each was proposed by the scientific community and realised through a user-driven selection process to ensure that each missions address key Earth-science questions.As part of this process, ESA released a call for proposals for the ninth Earth Explorer in November 2015. However, in this case, none of the proposals met the boundary conditions as stated in the call. As a result, ESA has updated some conditions and has reissued the call.Proposals should not only demonstrate scientific excellence and innovative technology, but also address important questions that have a direct bearing on societal issues we are likely to face in the coming decades. This includes, for example, the availability of food, water, energy and resources, health, risk of disaster and climate change.It is expected that the selected mission will be launched by 2025
As part of ESA’s commitment to realise new satellite missions that advance our understanding of Earth, benefit society and demonstrate innovative space technologies, a call is now open for new Earth Explorer ideas.Released today, the call invites scientists working in Earth observation to submit ideas for ESA’s 10th Earth Explorer mission
ESA foresees the 10th Earth Explorer being launched in 2027–28. The procedure for submitting an initial idea for this future mission begins with a letter of intent, which must be received by 15 December 2017.
ESA has chosen two concepts, FORUM and SKIM, to be developed further and compete to be the ninth Earth Explorer mission.
Thanks to new technical developments, the Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) candidate would measure radiation emitted from Earth across the entire far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Significantly, it measures in the 15–100 micron range, which has never been done from space before.
FORUM’s benchmark measurements would improve our understanding of the greenhouse effect and, importantly, contribute to the accuracy of climate change assessments that form the basis for policy decisions.The Sea-surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) candidate would carry a novel wide-swath scanning multibeam radar altimeter to measure ocean-surface currents. Uniquely, it uses a Doppler technique, which offers more direct measurements than conventional satellite altimeters.
“With this recommendation now accepted, these two candidates will spend the next two years being studied thoroughly. In 2019, a User Consultation Meeting will be held, after which a decision will be taken by ESA’s Member States as to which of the two contenders will be implemented.“We foresee Earth Explorer 9 being launched in 2025.”
As part of ESA’s continuing commitment to realise cutting-edge satellite missions to advance scientific understanding of our planet and to show how new technologies can be used in space, three new ideas have been chosen to compete as the tenth Earth Explorer mission.The decision follows the release of a call for ideas in September 2017. Out of the 21 proposals submitted, ESA’s Advisory Committee for Earth Observation (ACEO) recommended that three mission ideas should be selected for feasibility study: Stereoid, Daedalus and G-Class.Today, ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation accepted the committee’s recommendation.
Stereoid would orbit in formation with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites. Carrying a synthetic aperture radar, it aims to measure small shifts in the ocean surface, in glaciers and in Earth’s surface. This would improve our understanding of small-scale ocean circulation patterns, advance knowledge of glacial dynamics and their contribution to sea-level rise, and measure changes in land-surface topography.Daedalus would carry a suite of instruments to provide measurements in a largely unexplored area between the Earth’s upper atmosphere and space. Here, intriguing and complex processes govern the deposition, transformation and transport of some of the Sun and solar wind’s energy. The aim is to quantify amounts of energy deposited in the upper atmosphere by measuring, for example, effects caused by the electrodynamic processes in this region. The concept is based on a mother satellite, which carries a suite of instruments along with four small satellites carrying a subset of instruments that are released into the atmosphere.G-Class would carry a synthetic aperture radar and would be rather uniquely placed in a geosynchronous orbit to provide a constant view of Africa and the Mediterranean regions. The mission aims to make observations of diurnal water cycle processes to improve the prediction capability for rainfall, water availability, flooding and landslides.Feasibility studies will now start, after which a further selection will be made, with a view to launching of the successful mission in 2027–28.
A new contract seals the deal for Thales Alenia Space to lead the consortium that is building ESA’s photosynthesis mission: FLEX.... from over 800 km above Earth, this novel mission will yield information about the health of the world’s plants by measuring a faint glow they give off as they convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy-rich carbohydrates.
The launch of FLEX on a Vega C rocket from French Guiana is currently envisaged for 2023.
As part of the ongoing commitment to realise new satellite missions that advance our understanding of Earth, contribute to climate research, benefit society and demonstrate innovative space technologies, ESA soon expects to release a Call for Ideas for Earth Explorer 11, pending approval from Member States at the Programme Board for Earth Observation. The hope is to issue the Call before the end of May, with a deadline to submit full proposals by the end of October 2020.
As part of ESA’s continuing commitment to realise cutting-edge satellite missions to advance the scientific understanding of our planet and to show how new technologies can be used in space, a new Call for Earth Explorer mission ideas has been released today.The Call invites scientists working in Earth observation to submit ideas for ESA’s 11th Earth Explorer mission.
To add to this family of extraordinary satellite missions, it is now time to start the process of realising the eleventh Earth Explorer, which is foreseen to be launched in 2031–2032.Upon the official release of the Call on Monday 25 May, the procedure for submitting an initial idea for this future mission begins with a letter of intent, which must be received by 18 September 2020. This will be followed with a workshop with Proposers on 5 October 2020 to explain the proposal guidelines.The deadline for submitting the final proposal is 4 December 2020 at noon European time.
Following a rigorous selection process, ESA has selected a new satellite mission to fill in a critical missing piece of the climate jigsaw. By measuring radiation emitted by Earth into space, FORUM will provide new insight into the planet’s radiation budget and how it is controlled.The Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) mission was one of two concepts competing to be ESA’s ninth Earth Explorer mission.
After a two-year feasibility study phase, both FORUM and its competitor, the Sea-surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) concept, were presented and discussed in detail with the scientific community at a User Consultation Meeting in Cambridge, UK, in July.
The design of the mission will now be fine-tuned, and then built with a view to be launched in 2026.
... there are nine Earth Explorer missions; one completed, four in orbit and four in different stages of being built. Next to launch is the Biomass satellite which, carrying a novel P-band synthetic aperture radar, will deliver crucial information about the state of our forests and how they are changing, and further our knowledge of the role forests play in the carbon cycle.Harmony is slated as the tenth Earth Explorer mission and will be reviewed at the User Consultation Meeting on 5 July, after which formal selection should be made in the autumn.This new mission promises to provide data to measure small shifts in the shape of the land surface, such as those resulting from earthquakes and volcanic activity. It would also provide new information to study 3D deformation and flow dynamics of glaciers at the rapidly changing marginal zones of the ice sheets for a better understanding of the impact of ice loss on sea-level rise. Over the ocean, Harmony would provide simultaneous measurements of surface wind, currents and temperature, as well as ocean waves.In addition, there are four mission concepts, Cairt, Nitrosat, Wivern, Seastar, competing to be the eleventh Earth Explorer.
ESA has awarded a contract worth €160 million to Airbus in the UK to build the Earth Explorer FORUM satellite. This exciting new mission will yield unique insight into the planet’s radiation budget and how it is controlled – thereby filling in a critical missing piece of the climate jigsaw.Short for Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring, FORUM is ESA’s ninth Earth Explorer mission.
“FORUM, which we plan to launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in 2027, is a single-satellite mission that will carry a Fourier Transform Spectrometer that can measure across Earth’s entire far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum
Following preparatory activities and a stringent process ESA Member States today formally selected Harmony for implementation as the tenth Earth Explorer mission within the FutureEO programme. This unique satellite mission concept is, therefore, now set to become a reality to provide a wealth of new information about our oceans, ice, earthquakes and volcanoes – which will make significant contributions to climate research and risk monitoring.
This exciting new mission will comprise two identical satellites orbiting Earth in convoy with a Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. Each Harmony satellite will carry a receive-only synthetic aperture radar and a multiview thermal-infrared instrument.Together with observations from Sentinel-1, Harmony will deliver a wide range of unique high-resolution observations of motion occurring at or near Earth’s surface.
With Harmony formally selected as the tenth Earth Explorer, the mission is part of ESA’s Earth Observation FutureEO programme proposal at the upcoming Council at Ministerial Level, CM22 where funding decisions will be made by Member States.Then the next step will involve fine-tuning of the mission design and the subsequent build with a view to launching the satellites in 2029.
ESA selects Harmony as tenth Earth Explorer mission (EE10)QuoteFollowing preparatory activities and a stringent process ESA Member States today formally selected Harmony for implementation as the tenth Earth Explorer mission within the FutureEO programme. This unique satellite mission concept is, therefore, now set to become a reality to provide a wealth of new information about our oceans, ice, earthquakes and volcanoes – which will make significant contributions to climate research and risk monitoring.QuoteThis exciting new mission will comprise two identical satellites orbiting Earth in convoy with a Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. Each Harmony satellite will carry a receive-only synthetic aperture radar and a multiview thermal-infrared instrument.Together with observations from Sentinel-1, Harmony will deliver a wide range of unique high-resolution observations of motion occurring at or near Earth’s surface.QuoteWith Harmony formally selected as the tenth Earth Explorer, the mission is part of ESA’s Earth Observation FutureEO programme proposal at the upcoming Council at Ministerial Level, CM22 where funding decisions will be made by Member States.Then the next step will involve fine-tuning of the mission design and the subsequent build with a view to launching the satellites in 2029.
Harmony, the tenth Earth Explorer, was recently selected or implementation and will provide a wealth of new information about our oceans, ice, earthquakes, and volcanoes.In addition, there are currently four candidates for Earth Explorer 11: Cairt, Nitrosat, Wivern and Seastar. A down-selection will be made later this year.And now, the Call is open to forge ahead with Earth Explorer 12. Information and details on how to respond to the Call can be found on ESA’s Earth Observation Proposal System.The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is 28 April 2023 and the deadline to then submit a full proposal is 29 September 2023.
ESA has reached a significant milestone in its commitment towards a deeper understanding of Earth's dynamic processes and addressing pressing environmental challenges with the selection of two new candidates – Cairt and Wivern – to progress to the next development phase as part of the process of realising the Agency’s eleventh Earth Explorer satellite mission.
The two Earth Explorer 11 mission concepts promise to build on the success of missions that provide or are set to provide vital data for scientific research.Cairt – short for changing-atmosphere infrared tomography – would provide the measurements needed to make a necessary step change in understanding the links between climate change, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics in the altitude range of about 5 to 115 km.It would focus on the processes that couple atmospheric circulation, composition and regional climate change, providing critical observations not available from existing or planned satellite missions.Cairt would be the first limb-sounder with imaging Fourier-transform infrared technology in space.Wivern – short for wind velocity radar nephoscope – would provide the first measurements of wind within clouds and precipitation. It would also deliver profiles of rain, snow and ice water. Carrying a dual-polarisation, conically scanning, 94 GHz Doppler radar with an 800 km swath, the mission would improve forecasts of hazardous weather and provide new insights into severe storms.It would also contribute to the climate record of cloud and precipitation profiling.