Paving the way for new space players - For over 40 years ESA's Earthnet Programme has played a significant role as part of ESA's mandatory activities, providing the framework for integrating non-ESA missions, i.e. Third Party Missions (TPM), into the overall ESA Earth Observation (EO) strategy. Complementary to ESA-owned EO missions, the programme allows European users access to a large portfolio of TPM and is particularly important for promoting the international use of EO data.
In line with the Earthnet Programme objectives, ESA aims to foster cooperation and collaboration with not only other national space agencies, but also commercial mission providers. In recent years the availability of low cost small satellites and the innovation of constellations have resulted in an increasing number of commercial companies who have established business models to provide information services fed by their own satellite systems.
These new space players are now playing an important role in the EO international strategy. Some of these new missions are potential candidates for Earthnet TPMs and ESA have therefore set up a project to assess the quality and the suitability of these missions and also to establish dialogues with the various mission providers in order to improve the overall coherence of the EO system; this project is known as the Earthnet Data Assessment Pilot (EDAP).
This early data assessment is intended to provide some indication of the potential of each existing mission to remain as a TPM and for new and future missions to become TPMs within ESA's Earthnet programme. Furthermore, EDAP also places an emphasis on multi-mission studies that may span several instrument domains; such studies contribute to interoperability across existing and future missions and help foster synergies between these missions.
EDAP Missions and Studies
EDAP Best Practice Guidelines
The EDAP project has defined a set of 'best practice' guidelines defining a framework for the quality assessments it performs, aligned to the principles of QA4EO Framework.