Satnews Daily
November 10th, 2014

Copernicus Program Implementation Agreement Signed By Directors Ratier + Brunet

[SatNews] Alain Ratier, Director-General of EUMETSAT, and Philippe Brunet, Director of Aerospace, Maritime, Security and Defence Industries within the European Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, signed an agreement between the European Union and EUMETSAT regarding the implementation of the Copernicus program.

This follows the approval by the EUMETSAT Council of the Third Party Program on EUMETSAT’s Copernicus activities on October 15th. The agreement marks a key milestone for the Copernicus program, which entrusts EUMETSAT with important operational tasks and a related budget of 229 million euros to support the implementation of the program.

Building on the current series of MetOp weather satellites, the family of MetOp-Second Generation missions will comprise three pairs of satellites to secure essential information for weather forecasting through the decades beyond 2020.

While the European Commission has overall responsibility for the Copernicus program, defining priority areas of action, objective and strategies, EUMETSAT will provide key support for the implementation of the Copernicus space component and the Copernicus services. Under the agreement, EUMETSAT will exploit the Jason-3 and Sentinel-3 oceanographic missions on behalf of the European Union, starting in 2015, in support of the Copernicus marine service. It will also prepare the Jason-3 follow-up mission and the Sentinel-6 high precision ocean altimetry mission.

As of 2020, EUMETSAT will fly the Copernicus Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 instruments on its Meteosat Third Generation(MTG) and Metop-Second Generation (Metop-SG) satellites. Based on the unique synergy between these Copernicus and the EUMETSAT instruments flown on both families of spacecraft, EUMETSAT will deliver integrated data services for the monitoring of atmospheric composition and forecasting of air quality.

The Copernicus program will provide European decision makers, businesses and citizens with reliable, accurate and timely environmental information services in support of the decision making needed to ensure the well-being and civil security of current and future generations of Europeans.

”With this agreement, we will capitalize on the synergy between EUMETSAT and Copernicus assets,” said Ratier, “to deliver new integrated data services for the monitoring of ocean and atmospheric composition and create unique opportunities for users in the EU and EUMETSAT Member States.”

“We really value the technical competence and experience of EUMETSAT's staff to make Europe's flagship space program on Earth observation a success story,” said Brunet, “which will serve society in many ways including by timely environmental monitoring as well as creating a thriving downstream sector."

For more information, please visit the EUMETSAT Copernicus infosite.