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4th Ground Segment Coordination Body Workshop
24 September 2015
ESA-ESRIN (Frascati, Italy)

The constantly increasing demand of Earth Observation data from the user community and the evolution in technology offer a permanent challenge for Earth Observation satellite operators, Space Agencies and EO data providers to efficiently manage their data and to offer the access to the different products as coherently and easily as possible. The need of all stakeholders to carefully manage available financial resources while benefitting from the increasing number of different missions and data sets, including the historical ones, call for the close cooperation in the ground segment development, the operations and the data exploitation.

In order to face this challenge ESA has performed in 2014 a thorough analysis of available commercial service offers and new technologies, and has started a broad consultation exercise with major stakeholders and industry in Europe to derive concrete recommendations and requirements as well as to identify the most relevant areas and opportunities for a future Ground Segment (GS) evolution. Due to the integrated character of the ESA EO Ground Segment with scientific and infrastructure services operated by public institutions and industry in ESA Member States, ESA's GS Evolution Strategy, is relevant for European GS architecture and technology beyond the elements directly implemented through ESA.

The "Ground Segment Coordination Body" (GSCB) brings together representatives of all agencies in ESA member states investing in and managing Earth Observation Payload Data Ground Segments for their national missions. It was established in June 2005 and allows sharing expertise in the development and operations of Payload Ground Segments of the major European and Canadian missions. The GSCB also has strong links to other coordination and standardisation entities like GEO, CEOS, OGC and INSPIRE. Within the framework of the GSCB, information on activities and programmes is shared in a wider forum of European and Canadian Earth Observation mission operators. This is done through workshops held at regular intervals.

The GSCB workshop 2015 was held on 24 September 2015 at ESRIN, and focused on future Ground Segment (GS) evolution strategies at ESA and in Europe. It allowed to exchange views, define challenges and opportunities, identify key technologies missing in Europe, identify emerging patterns for promising value-chains, and identify ways to integrate new entrants quickly and be able to react to political environment changes.