Minimize About GSCB

The demand and the requirements for Earth Observation (EO) Data have evolved drastically. Not only the amount but the volume of requested data have increased by a factor of 10 over the last 8 years, in line with the users' processing and analysing capabilities. In addition, the variety and the diversity of data requests have increased to a level where more than 80% of the users request and use data from more than one satellite or satellite operator.

This, in turn, increases the challenge for Earth Observation satellite operators, Space Agencies and EO Data providers to process the data and to offer the access to the different data as coherently and easily as possible.

Last but not least, it forces to optimise the allocation of the available financial resources to handle an increasing number of different EO missions through a closer cooperation in the ground segment development, the operations and the data exploitation.

ESA's Earth Observation Programme Board (PB-EO) had setup in 2003-2004 a task force that came up with a set of recommendations on how to deal with these challenges in the EO ground segment among ESA member states. [5]

Beyond recommendations concerning mission independent design, modularity, competition in the industrial approach, the coordination and cooperation was considered of primary importance. The task force recommended to set-up a 'Ground Segment Coordination Body' (GSCB) of all agencies in member states investing in and managing Earth Observation Payload Data Ground Segments.

This group was established in June 2005 and shares the respective expertise in the development and operations of Payload Ground segments of missions such as

  • Meteosat, MSG and EPS by EUMETSAT
  • TerraSAR-X, RapidEye, TanDEM and EnMAP and third party missions handled by DLR
  • the RADARSAT missions by CSA
  • COSMO-SkyMed by ASI
  • the POT, Topex- Jason and Pleiades missions by CNES
  • ERS1&2, Envisat, the different Earth Explorer missions and third party missions by ESA.

The group coordinates and shares its findings with other coordination and standardisation entities like CEOS, OGC and CCSDS; and it plans for regular consultation with industry and commercial missions.

This collaboration is becoming even more important in future for the GMES Programme and in particular for the GMES Space Component (GSC) at which the sustainability of the EO data supply is assured equally through dedicated missions and through contributing missions from different Agencies, providers and operators.

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