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Earth Observation Satellites

The provision of Copernicus services is based on the processing of environmental data collected from Earth observation satellites and in situ sensors.


The Earth observation satellites which provide the data exploited by the Copernicus services are split into two groups of missions:


  • The Sentinels, which are currently being developed for the specific needs of the Copernicus programme;
  • The Contributing Missions, which are operated by national, European or international organisations and already provide a wealth of data for Copernicus services.


Sentinel-1 (Credits: ESA/P. Carril)

The European Space Agency (ESA) is responsible for the space component of the Copernicus programme and coordinates the delivery of data from upwards of 30 satellites. Read more on data access...


The Copernicus space component is completed by a ground segment whose role is to provide access to Sentinel and Contributing Mission data.


The ground segment, which is spread geographically, relies on existing national public and private facilities along with international agencies with the total infrastructure being coherently managed.


It also comprises the "mission control", which will operate the Sentinel satellites and the facilities to handle the data received from the Sentinels, and will elaborate the data into products for Copernicus Services. Read more on the ground segment…