ESA uses its multi-mission ground systems to acquire, process, archive and distribute data from other satellites - so called Third Party Missions. The data from these missions is distributed under specific agreements with the owners or operators of the mission, following the ESA Data Policy. Details of the Third Party Missions currently supported by ESA are found below.
Third Party Missions
COSMO-SkyMed is a 4-spacecraft constellation, conceived by ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana), and funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR) and the Italian Ministry of Defense (MOD), Italy.
The Deimos-1 satellite was built by SSTL and is owned by Deimos Imaging. The satellite provides imagery for commercial applications, for government use and for rapid-response following disasters.
FORMOSAT-2 is Earth imaging satellite of NSPO (National Space Program Office) of Taiwan with the objective to collect high-resolution panchromatic (2 m) and multispectral (8 m) imagery for a great variety of applications.
GOSAT (Greenhouse gases Observing Satellite) is a JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) mission within the GCOM (Global Change Observation Mission) program of Japan.
The primary science objective of GRACE is to measure the Earth's gravity field and its time variability with unprecedented accuracy. The secondary science objective is to obtain approximately 150 very precise globally distributed vertical temperature and humidity profiles of the atmosphere per day using the GPS radio occultation technique.
Ikonos-2 is an imaging satellite of GeoEye (formerly Space Imaging Inc., before the acquisition by ORBIMAGE) providing high-resolution imagery on a commercial basis.
IRS-P6, also known as ResourceSat-1, is an Earth observation mission within the IRS (Indian Remote-Sensing Satellite) series of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). IRS-P6 is the continuation of the IRS-1C/1D missions with considerably enhanced capabilities.
KOMPSAT-2 (Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-2), also referred to as Arirang-2 by South Korea, has been developed by KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) to continue the observation program of the KOMPSAT-1 mission
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Scanner (TIRS) are the two instruments carried on board Landsat 8 (also known as LDCM – Landsat Data Continuity Mission) satellite. These two sensors provide seasonal coverage of the global landmass at a spatial resolution of 30 metres (visible, NIR, SWIR), 100 metres (thermal) and 15 metres (panchromatic).
The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer is a broad-band, four or five channel (depending on the model) scanner, sensing in the visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This sensor is carried on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES), beginning with TIROS-N in 1978.
Odin is an international aeronomy and astronomy minisatellite mission led by Sweden, with Canada, France, and Finland as partners
Proba-1 is a technology mission aimed at evaluating new hardware and software spacecraft technologies, onboard operational autonomy and testing Earth observation and space environment instruments. Proba-1 was successfully launched on 22 October, 2001 and was intended as a one-year technology demonstration mission, but has since had its lifetime extended to serve as an Earth Observation mission.
The Proba-V mission provides multispectral images to study the evolution of the vegetation cover on a daily and global basis. The 'V' stands for Vegetation. This mission is extending the data set of the long-established Vegetation instrument, flown as a secondary payload aboard France's SPOT-4 and SPOT-5 satellites launched in 1998 and 2002 respectively.
The RADARSAT family consists of a pair of Canadian Remote Sensing satellites: RADARSAT-1, Canada's first commercial Earth observation satellite developed to monitor the planet's natural resources and environmental changes, and RADARSAT-2, a jointly-funded satellite mission of CSA (Canadian Space Agency) and MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler Associates Ltd. of Richmond, BC), representing a Canadian government/industry partnership in a commercial venture.
RapidEye, located in Berlin, owns and operates a constellation of five identical Earth Observation satellites. The constellation images over five million square kilometres of earth every day and its archive of imagery grows by over one billion square kilometres every year. Its five metre pixel size imagery is suitable for an array of monitoring purposes.
SciSat-1/ACE is an atmospheric science mission of Canada. Through a 3rd party mission agreement ESA will make validated data from the ACE-FTS (ACE-Fourier Transform Spectrometer) available.
The purpose of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor Project is to provide quantitative data on global ocean bio-optical properties to the Earth science community. Subtle changes in ocean color signify various types and quantities of marine phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), the knowledge of which has both scientific and practical applications.
The SPOT Earth observation system designed by CNES and operated by Spot Image, has been in operation since February 1986. In March 1998 the SPOT 4 satellite added its new capabilites to the SPOT family. To ensure continuity of service, SPOT 4 has the same geometric imaging characteristics (a swath of 60 km per instrument and oblique viewing capability of 27° on each side of the local vertical). However its performance has been increased by adding a new shortwave infrared spectral band (SWIR). Archived and new data from the 4 satellites can be made available through an agreement between ESA and Spotimage, established in 2006.
Launched in May 2002 SPOT-5 offers greatly enhanced capabilities compared to its predecessors, due to SPOT-5's improved 5-metre and 2.5-metre resolution. The satellite provides an ideal balance between high resolution and wide-area coverage. SPOT-5's other key feature is the unprecedented acquisition capability of the on-board HRS imaging instrument.
MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a key instrument aboard NASA's Terra (EOS AM) and Aqua (EOS PM) satellites. Terra's orbit around the Earth is timed so that it passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon. Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth's surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths.
The Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) is an international program initially proposed in 1996 and led by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd), Surrey, UK, to construct a network of five affordable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) microsatellites. The objective is to provide a daily global imaging capability at medium resolution (30-40 m), in 3-4 spectral bands, for rapid-response disaster monitoring and mitigation.
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