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The operational modelling of ocean currents is used both by shipping and fisheries, as well as oil producers who install large platforms in this environment. The mapping of ocean floor topography is also an important input to the latter.

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Mapping sea surface from the Space Station

16 March 2015

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A new concept that involves mounting an instrument on the International Space Station and taking advantage of signals from navigation satellites could provide measurements of sea-surface height and information about features related to ocean currents, benefiting science and ocean forecasting.

We have all seen the beautiful photographs of our planet taken by astronauts, but orbiting Earth 16 times a day just 400 km above, the Space Station also offers a platform from which to measure certain variables related to climate change.

So, in 2011 ESA called for proposals to explore how the Space Station could be used to make scientifically valid observations of Earth. After reviewing and assessing numerous proposals, the result is to further develop the GEROS-ISS mission concept.

GEROS-ISS stands for GNSS reflectometry, radio occultation and scatterometry on board the ISS.

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