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Copernicus – The EU's Earth observation and monitoring programme

24-10-2017

Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation and monitoring programme. It has a space component and a ground-based component, and provides users with data services. It is a user-driven programme under civilian control, building on existing national and European capacities, and continuing the work of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. It is based on a partnership between the EU, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU Member States.

Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation and monitoring programme. It has a space component and a ground-based component, and provides users with data services. It is a user-driven programme under civilian control, building on existing national and European capacities, and continuing the work of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. It is based on a partnership between the EU, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU Member States.

Securing the Copernicus programme: Why EU earth observation matters

06-04-2017

The Copernicus programme is a user-driven programme which provides six free-of-charge operational services (atmosphere monitoring, marine environment monitoring, land monitoring, climate change, emergency management and security) to EU, national, and regional institutions, as well as to the private sector. The programme builds on the initiative on global monitoring for environment and security launched in 2001. It aims at filling the gaps in European earth observation capacities. Data is provided ...

The Copernicus programme is a user-driven programme which provides six free-of-charge operational services (atmosphere monitoring, marine environment monitoring, land monitoring, climate change, emergency management and security) to EU, national, and regional institutions, as well as to the private sector. The programme builds on the initiative on global monitoring for environment and security launched in 2001. It aims at filling the gaps in European earth observation capacities. Data is provided from space infrastructures, particularly the sentinel missions developed under the programme, and in situ infrastructure supported by the Member States. Copernicus services are mainly operated by European Union (EU) agencies. Copernicus requires a high level of continuity in data and service provision. A strong political commitment at EU level is required to provide adequate funding for the development of the operational earth observation missions and services. The EU – under the framework programme for research and operational programmes – and the European Space Agency (ESA) have invested more than €7 billion in Copernicus since 2002. By the end of 2017, four of the six sentinel missions should be fully deployed and the last of the six services should become fully operational. As Copernicus reaches its full operational stage, the focus of the programme is shifting towards the uptake of the services and the development of a downstream sector that would provide additional commercial services to the users. This aspect is a key priority of the space strategy adopted by the European Commission in October 2016. The development of the downstream sector is dependent on the long-term continuity of service, to be ensured by improved governance of the programme and renewed long-term political and financial commitments for the next EU budgetary period.

European space policy: Historical perspective, specific aspects and key challenges

30-01-2017

Space has been a cooperative endeavour in Europe for over 50 years. The first collaborative structures between the Member States in the 1960s led to the establishment of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1975. The European Union began to be involved in the field in the 1990s, especially through the design of EU space programmes – Galileo for satellite navigation and Copernicus for earth observation – implemented in cooperation with ESA. European space policy is defined and implemented by the EU, ...

Space has been a cooperative endeavour in Europe for over 50 years. The first collaborative structures between the Member States in the 1960s led to the establishment of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1975. The European Union began to be involved in the field in the 1990s, especially through the design of EU space programmes – Galileo for satellite navigation and Copernicus for earth observation – implemented in cooperation with ESA. European space policy is defined and implemented by the EU, ESA and their member states. This diversity offers some flexibility, but also creates fragmentation, leading to inefficiency in areas such as the implementation of EU programmes or the development of international relations. New developments, including the role of private actors in the field and the growing importance of security and defence aspects also challenge current European space policy governance.