The European Space Agency and Astrium have signed a €195 M contract to provide the first Sentinel-2 earth observation satellite, devoted to monitoring the land environment, as part of the European Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme. As prime contractor, Astrium is responsible for the design, development and integration of the satellite, which will perform a high-end multi-spectral optical imaging mission.
GMES aims to deliver environment and security services and is being led by the European Commission. At the same time, it is the European contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). ESA is responsible for implementation of the GMES Space Component, a set of earth observation missions involving ESA, EU/ESA Member States and other partners. Central elements of the Space Component are the five families of Sentinel missions.
ESA carried out the Sentinel-2 definition phase over 2005/2006. The implementation phase started in October 2007 and the launch of the first Sentinel-2 satellite is planned for 2012. Sentinel-2 will deliver crucial data for information services to the EU and its Member States under GMES. The services fed by it cover areas such as climate change, sustainable development, environmental policies, European civil protection, common agricultural policy, development aid, humanitarian aid and the Common Foreign & Security Policy.