ESA and Spot Image set precedence with data sharing

ESA and Spot Image, the company that distributes data commercially from the French Space Agency's (CNES) Spot satellites, signed a multiyear agreement, which kicked off in January 2006, permitting ESA-accepted Category-1 projects to order more than 10 000 images per year from the Spot 1, 2, 3 and 4 satellites.

Category-1 users from Europe, Canada and Africa can submit proposals for the use of Spot data for research and applications development to ESA from June 15, 2006.

A test phase was implemented from January to May 2006 to ensure the interoperability and harmonisation of technical interfaces, such as cataloguing and ordering, between Spot Image and ESA systems.

The agreement allows ESA, for the first time, to offer high resolution optical data in large quantities from a non-ESA European mission to its Category-1 users. The data can be accessed the same way ESA data are through ESA's multi-mission ground segment, affording users the advantage of a "one-stop-shop."

In return for access to the data, ESA will contribute to the operations of the Spot ESA shared ground receiving stations and processing facilities in Sweden and France.

ESA will provide the data to all existing and newly approved ESA Category-1 Projects. The accessible data are from Spot's High Resolution Visible and Near-Infrared (HRVIR) instruments which have a ground resolution of 10 metres in black and white and 20 metres in colour.

During the four-month interoperability and harmonization testing phase, service element projects of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative served as pilot projects.

GMES, a joint initiative of the European Commission and ESA, aims to harmonise in-situ and space-based data to provide timely and quality data at global, regional and local levels. In addition, it will join all available scientific data on environmental and security issues and customise it to users' specific needs. I

Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency

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