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  • richardmitnick 11:12 am on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA Sentinel   

    From Eos: “Rapidly Activated Satellite Completes A European Constellation” 

    Eos news bloc

    Eos

    29 April 2016
    Peter L. Weiss

    ESA/Sentinel 1
    An ESA Sentinel spacecraft

    ESA Sentinels (Copernicus)
    ESA Sentinels (Copernicus)

    1
    The new Sentinel-1B Earth-observing satellite took its first image yesterday—a radar view of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. This portion of the image includes the Austfonna ice cap (light patch, top left). The European Space Agency launched the satellite Monday. Credit: ESA

    A European Earth-observing satellite captured a crisp image of northern Norway Thursday in record time—just 2 hours after the spacecraft’s radar was activated, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced.

    The agency, which launched the Sentinel 1-B satellite on Monday, reported that the new spacecraft had acquired its first images after successfully deploying a 12-meter-long radar antenna as well as two 10-meter-long solar arrays. Sentinel-1B will observe land and ocean.

    The agency said that upcoming maneuvering by Sentinel-1B will place it in a final orbit on the other side of Earth from its sister satellite Sentinel-1A. That shift will complete a planned constellation that also includes previously launched Sentinel-2—primarily for observing land—and Sentinel-3, mainly for ocean observation.

    ESA Sentinel 2
    ESA Sentinel 2

    ESA Sentinel 3
    ESA Sentinel 3

    “With another important milestone reached, we now have the fourth satellite in orbit and the Sentinel constellation as we envisaged it becomes a reality,” said Philippe Brunet of the European Commission.

    Sentinel-1B and Sentinel-1A, which launched in 2014, can both image Earth’s surface during day or night, through clouds and rain, according to ESA. Because their radars can peer through clouds, they provide “a very useful complement to Landsat,” said Jeffrey G. Masek, chief of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    NASA/Landsat 8
    NASA/Landsat 8

    Clouds interfere with Landsat scrutiny, he said.

    Masek praised “the free and open data distribution policies adopted by the Sentinel program.” Those give U.S. researchers access to the constellation’s data and support international collaboration, he added.

    Sentinel-1B will undergo tests and calibrations in the coming months before being declared fully operational, according to ESA.

    See the full article here .

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    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

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  • richardmitnick 6:55 am on April 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA Sentinel   

    From ESA: “Sentinel-3: better than good” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    01/04/2016

    1

    The new Sentinel-3A satellite recently began providing data from orbit. This very early image recorded on 3 March 2016, takes us over the River Nile and Delta and the surrounding desert areas of northeast Africa and parts of the Middle East.

    ESA/Sentinal 3
    ESA/Sentinal 3

    Very distinct is Egypt, a country connecting northeast Africa with the Middle East, home to millennia-old monuments still sitting along the lush Nile valley.

    In the centre of the image, capital city Cairo with the Nile snaking northwards is clearly visible, along with the Red Sea just further east. Also evident are the islands of Cyprus further north in the Mediterranean Sea and parts of Crete on the very left.

    One of the suite of sophisticated instruments that will measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere, Sentinel-3’s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) measures the energy radiating from Earth’s surface in nine spectral bands, including visible and infrared.

    The instrument improves on the capabilities of the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer carried by the Envisat satellite of 2002–12, including a wider swath of 1400 km, new channels and a partly higher spatial resolution.

    Combining radiometer and colour data helps us to understand the state of vegetation better.

    Launched last 16 February, Sentinel-3 will systematically measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. It will provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting, among other major applications.

    Over land, this innovative mission will provide a bigger picture by monitoring wildfires, mapping the way land is used, providing indices of vegetation state and measuring the height of rivers and lakes, complementing the high-resolution measurements of its sister mission, Sentinel-2.

    This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

    See the full article here .

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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 6:40 am on April 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ESA Sentinel   

    From ESA: “Australia ensured access to Sentinel data” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    31 March 2016

    ESA and Australia’s national geological survey, Geoscience Australia, today agreed to cooperate to ensure data from the EU’s Sentinel satellites are accessible in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

    The agreement supports the Australian government and European Commission’s partnership to ensure the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme benefits their citizens and the broader international community.

    ESA Sentinels (Copernicus)
    ESA Sentinels (Copernicus)

    A key component of the cooperation will be the establishment of a regional data access and analysis hub managed by Geoscience Australia (GA). This hub will greatly improve access to Copernicus data in a region which is densely populated and experiencing high rates of economic growth, but which faces significant challenges in areas where Earth observation can help. These challenges include the protection of environmental assets, promotion of sustainable natural resource development and risk reduction from natural disasters.

    ESA will supply GA with high-speed access to data from the Sentinel satellites through its Copernicus data access infrastructure.

    ESA/Sentinel 1
    ESA/Sentinel 1

    Through a consortium with Australia’s CSIRO national research organisation and Australian state governments, GA will make the data hub available to users in the Southeast Asia and the South Pacific region.

    The hub is projected to provide access to over 12 Petabytes of data by 2025, and is expected to go beyond simply providing users with the ability to download Copernicus data.

    “The regional data hub will also provide a high-performance environment in which all the data can be analysed and applied at full scale to big regional challenges like the blue economy, sustainable livelihoods and climate change adaptation,” said GA’s head of Earth and Marine Observations, Dr Adam Lewis.

    “By enabling multiple user groups, from multiple countries, to come together and ‘work around’ such a comprehensive set of data, we are helping to make sure the full potential of the EU’s amazing programme is realised and that regional partners can find regional solutions to regional challenges.”

    The data access hub will be established at Australia’s National Computational Infrastructure, the largest facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere, taking advantage of the Australian government’s investments in science and research infrastructure to support the region.

    The cooperation will also make it easier for European and Australian experts to collaborate on the calibration and validation activities that are fundamental to ensuring that users have access to high-quality satellite data and value-added products they can trust.

    “Through GA, CSIRO and many other players, Australia has long made a valued contribution to our calibration and validation activities. Its technical expertise, world-class facilities and the diversity of geographies they have access to makes them a key player,” said Pier Bargellini from ESA’s Copernicus Space Component Mission Management and Ground Segment Division.

    “Through this arrangement, we expect to see this grow even further, with Australia making a particular contribution to ensuring Copernicus data satisfies local and regional requirements.”

    Under the arrangement, GA will also act as a coordinating point for European partners to obtain access to Australian in-situ data, which is made available through the efforts of many Australian government agencies, research partnerships and universities.

    “The EU’s Copernicus programme is about applications and services, and these applications and services are most useful when satellite and in-situ data are integrated,” said Andreas Veispak, the European Commission’s Head of Unit for Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth.

    “We welcome GA’s commitment to act as a coordination point for access to in-situ data. Australia has a record of providing outstanding data, including through programmes like the integrated marine observing system and terrestrial ecosystem research network. We are looking at linking Copernicus more closely to these efforts.”

    The regional data hub will become operational on 1 July.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 9:38 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ESA Sentinel   

    From ESA: “Deal sealed for new Sentinel-1 satellites” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    15 December 2015

    ESA has ensured the continuation of the Sentinel-1 Earth observation satellite series for Europe’s Copernicus environmental programme by ordering two more satellites.

    The €400 million contract was signed today with Thales Alenia Space of Italy to build Sentinel-1C and -1D.

    Thales Alenia Space will lead a consortium of 60 European companies, including Germany’s Airbus Defence and Space, responsible for the radar instrument.

    Launched in April 2014, Sentinel-1A was the first of the dedicated Copernicus series for monitoring the land and oceans, and helping out during natural disasters.

    ESA Sentinal 1
    Sentinal 1

    Composed of two polar-orbiting satellites operating day and night, the Sentinel-1 mission provides radar coverage regardless of the weather. The coverage will be boosted following the launch of twin Sentinel-1B next April.

    2
    Nepal earthquake
    Combining two Sentinel-1A radar scans from 17 and 29 April 2015, this interferogram shows changes on the ground that occurred during the 25 April earthquake that struck Nepal. An overall area of 120×100 km has moved – half of that uplifted and the other half, north of Kathmandu subsided. Vertical accuracy is a few cm. Contains Copernicus data (2015)/ESA/Norut/PPO.labs/COMET–ESA SEOM INSARAP study

    The first satellite has already helped out in an emergency situation. Some of its very first images were crucial in helping authorities in Namibia and the Balkans to respond to serious floods – this while the satellite was still being commissioned.

    Since then, experts have begun using it to monitor the marine environment. In particular, the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service calls on Sentinel-1 imagery to create ice charts showing details of ice conditions in a variety of regions, including warnings of icebergs drifting along shipping routes to alert vessels.

    Sentinel-1A has also monitored losses from ice caps and ice sheets, such as the Austfonna ice cap in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. The first dedicated campaign observing the Greenland ice sheet was completed in March.

    It has also mapped ground movements related to earthquakes in the Napa Valley of the USA, in Nepal, Chile and Afghanistan, as well as in eruptions of a number of volcanoes worldwide, such as Fogo, Villarrica and Piton de la Fournaise.

    The above are just a few examples of how Sentinel-1 data are being exploited. The mission also routinely contributes to observing oil spills, sea state, subsidence, landslides, land cover, agriculture, forestry and soil moisture, among others.

    3
    Signing of the new Sentinel-1 contract.In the back, Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on the left, Mauro Facchini, Head of the Copernicus Services Unit of the European Commission (right), Donato Amoroso, CEO of Thales Alenia Italy and Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes at the signing ceremony for the new contract of Sentinel-1C & -1D units.

    The huge success of Sentinel-1A is highlighted by the number of users and downloads of data: more than 15 000 users have registered on the Sentinels scientific data hub, 2.5 million products have been downloaded – corresponding to 3 million GB of data – and 350 000 products are available online for download.

    With this new contract, ESA and its partners take on the commitment to prepare the replacements for Sentinel-1A and -1B, ensuring that users will have the data to feed the Copernicus services in the future.

    Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said at the signing: “The radar satellites Sentinel-1 C and -1D will extend the operational monitoring component of Copernicus at least until the end of 2020.

    “This is crucial for many operational and governmental applications but also for growing private sector applications.

    “Nowadays, radar satellites are covering such a wide spectrum of applications that they are indispensable for environmental monitoring and oceanography, as well as for disaster management and security issues, including growing information needs, to feed more and more people.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 11:10 am on November 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA Sentinel   

    From ESA: “Sentinel-3A on its way” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    20 November 2015

    1
    Carrying a precision radar altimeter, an advanced infrared radiometer, and a wide-swath ocean and land imaging spectrometer, Sentinel-3 supplies a wealth of data related mainly to the marine environment for Europe’s Copernicus programme. Delivering critical data on the height and temperature of the sea surface, it supports ocean forecasting for maritime safety. In coastal zones, this is also important for predicting extreme events such as storm surges and floods. Additionally, ocean-colour data provide key information to monitor seawater quality and pollution. Applications using data acquired over land include fire detection and land-cover mapping. Sentinel-3 also provides information to map the topography and extent of ice and to monitor the height of lake and river water.

    The latest satellite for the European Commission’s Copernicus environmental programme has left France bound for the Plesetsk launch site in Russia and launch late next month.

    Copernicus EU Earth Observation bloc

    Carrying a suite of state-of-the-art instruments, Sentinel-3A is set to provide an unprecedented step forward in the Copernicus marine, land, atmosphere and climate change services.

    2
    Sentinel-3A is wrapped up for its journey to reach the cosmodrome in Plesetsk, Russia.

    The satellite began its two-day journey from Thales Alenia Space in Cannes to Nice airport by lorry during the night. An Antonov aircraft will now carry the precious cargo to Arkhangelsk in Russia after a stopover in Moscow to clear paperwork.

    At Arkhangelsk, Sentinel and its support equipment will be put on lorries before reaching the cosmodrome by rail.

    Building on the pioneering Envisat and CryoSat satellites, Sentinel-3A’s sensors will measure ocean features such as changes in water temperature and surface height – information needed for ocean forecasting and maritime safety. Around coasts, this is also important for predicting extreme events such as storm surges and floods.

    ESA Envisat
    Envisat [no longer in service]

    ESA CryoSat 2
    CryoSat 2

    3
    Sentinel-3A loaded into the lorry that will carry it on to the Nice airport, for its flight to Plesetsk, Russia.

    Monitoring seawater quality and pollution, this multitalented satellite will also help to map the topography and extent of ice, and to monitor the height of lake and river water.

    Over land, its uses include detecting fires and mapping.

    Once the satellite is in the cleanroom in Plesetsk, it will be checked to ensure that all is well after the journey before beginning preparations for launch.

    Sentinel-3A is scheduled for liftoff on a Rockot launcher at the end of December.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Copernicus EU, , ESA Sentinel   

    From UK Space: “Europe’s Earth observation programme maximised by UK data hub” 

    UK Space Agency

    UK Space Agency

    24 March 2015
    No Writer Credit

    The UK is to host a world-class data facility, giving scientists full access to Earth observation data from Europe’s Copernicus programme.

    1
    Signature of ESA/UK Collaborative Ground Segment Cooperation agreement. Credit: ESA–N. Imbert-Vier, 2015.

    Europe’s most ambitious Earth observation (EO) programme to date, Copernicus is launching a family of satellites, called Sentinels, that will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of our environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

    Copernicus EU Earth Observation bloc

    The new space data hub will be jointly funded by the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult and will ensure the UK is ready to fully exploit the Sentinels’ operational data as soon as it becomes available.

    The agreement to host the data hub was signed by Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, at the European Space Agency last week (18 March 2015) and announced today (23 March) to the UK’s EO community at the Applications Conference in London.

    Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

    Europe’s Sentinel satellites are set to live up to their name by watching over our planet and providing us with the vital data we need to solve the climate and environmental problems facing mankind.

    By hosting a Sentinel data hub and making the satellites’ unique data readily available in the UK, we can continue our leading work in the field of Earth observation whilst opening up new business opportunities from the commercial development of space data.

    Defra Chief Scientist Ian Boyd added:

    The information that we get from the Copernicus Satellites has been invaluable in allowing the government to make environmental policy based on robust scientific evidence. This earth observation data has the potential to allow a wide range of organisations to help our environment. This historic agreement will ensure everyone can access this information for free.

    ESA Sentinal 1
    ESA Sentinal 1

    The Copernicus programme will result in a huge increase in the amount of satellite data becoming available. When fully operational 8 terabytes of new data per day will be available for people to access, equivalent to 8 computer hard drives worth, and all of it free to all for download. The new data hub will ensure this wealth of Sentinel product data is easily accessible and available for UK users to access and download; maximising the growth opportunity for the downstream applications market. Users can expect access to Sentinel products within a matter of hours from initial acquisition as well as a full set of archive data and product enhancing applications. The service will be further enhanced for those who require near real time data by the addition of a European Data Relay Service (EDRS) terminal.

    The data hub will take advantage of previous funding and build on it. It will link 2 large assets; the Catapult CEMS facility, which offers storage and processing capability to the industrial community and the Academic JASMIN facility which offers the same service to the academic community. The Catapult facility will also be linked in to the Airbus data centre at Farnborough via a high-speed data link. The Airbus facility will offer additional hosted processing facilities to commercial users, negating the need for users to download large amounts of data for further processing. UK government requirements will also be served. The two assets are located at Harwell, which has a dedicated space cluster hosting numerous industrial and SME data application developers. It is envisaged that by centring the community around such facilities this will maximise knowledge sharing and help position Harwell as the international centre of excellence driving the global expansion of space derived climate and environmental services.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 9:13 am on November 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA Sentinel   

    From ESA: ” Sentinel-1 Soon to Make First Laser Link” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    1 April 2014

    No Writer Credit

    The Sentinel-1 Earth observation satellite, set for launch on Thursday as the first space element of Europe’s Copernicus global monitoring programme, will be the anchor customer of another milestone ESA programme: the laser-equipped European Data Relay System.

    ESA Sentinel 1

    This SpaceDataHighway will transmit information between satellites faster than ever, using laser links. The first EDRS element will be launched in 2015, and before then Sentinel will be able to connect through a precursor payload.

    This precursor is a hosted package furnished by DLR on Europe’s biggest telecom satellite, Alphasat, launched in July 2013 and developed through a public–private partnership between ESA and Inmarsat. The Laser Communication Terminal is demonstrating the use of laser technology for collecting information from the congested low orbits and then transmitting it to Earth from its lofty position in geostationary orbit, 36 000 km up. The terminal was tested with ESA’s optical ground station in Tenerife in November 2013, proving all is working as it should and is ready for action.

    ESA Alphasat
    ESA/Alphasat

    Sentinel-1 is expected to start a series of successively more extensive link sessions with the terminal 6–8 weeks after launch.

    ESA Alphasat in action
    Alphasat’s LCT in action

    Lasers can carry much more data at a much faster rate than traditional radio links, which addresses our ever-growing need for communication services delivered by satellite.

    In particular, EDRS will be used by the Sentinels and other customers for environmental monitoring and disaster mitigation. These applications benefit greatly from rapid response times and the ability to receive large amounts of information at once.

    It is estimated that Copernicus will require the SpaceDataHighway to transmit a large part of the six terabytes of data every day to the ground. Without laser communication, this would be difficult.

    ESA Copernicus
    ESA/ Copernicus

    This new route also solves the problem of the limited ability of satellites in lower orbits to deliver time-critical information – they transmit data only when in sight of a ground station. The rest of the time, valuable information must be stored. Typically, this means only around 10 minutes of downlink per orbit, which is only a tenth of the total duration of each orbital journey. EDRS will boost the connection time by a factor of up to five.

    The SpaceDataHighway will provide near-continuous availability of a link to the ground, thereby greatly improving the timely availability of data on the ground.

    EDRS is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space. It will provide a fully commercial service to users all over the world following its launches in 2015 and 2016. Until then, the Sentinels will demonstrate the effectiveness of lasers in space.

    See the full article, with video, here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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