Terrascope Releases its First EO Browser

Terrascope, ESA's Belgian Collaborative Ground Segment for the dissemination of Sentinel data, has just undergone a pretty impressive update. Three major changes:

1. EO browser
Firstly, a state-of-the-art Terraviewer, enabling you to easily browse and view our data, currently enabled for Sentinel-2. This version gives you the possibility to view & download Sentinel-2 data over Belgian territory.
This data is available from mid-2015 onwards. In the viewer you can choose 6 pre-defined layers, color, infrared, NDVI, FAPAR, LAI and FCOVER. Each one having specific characteristics and use.

2. Sentinel-1
Secondly, Sentinel 1 data can now be downloaded directly from the data portal, in both single look complex (SLC) as well as ground-range detected (GRD) format.
The data is available from 2018 onwards. As it concerns SAR – radar – imagery, the data can be used regardless of clouds being present at the time of recording.

Sentinel 1 data is very useful for forest cover inventory to map deforestation, but also for land cover monitoring and classification, flood monitoring and detecting soil drought. In the upcoming releases the Terraviewer will also include the Sentinel 1 data.

3. User Support
And last but not least, a User Support section is in place to help users with any technical questions. By using the Forum, interaction with other experienced users will help solve specific issues with the data and an expert will always be available to solve your questions.

The FAQ section already contains answers to get you started using the data and platform. Along the way the FAQ will further expand depending on the input received from our users.


Be sure to check out Terrascope and all it has to offer right now.


Sentinel-3B Launch Opens New Era for Operational Oceanography

The successful launch on April 25th of the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite from Plesetsk, Russia, will establish the European backbone of a space-based, global ocean monitoring system at the service of operational oceanography.

The spacecraft will form a two-satellite constellation with Sentinel-3A, launched in February 2016, and thus complete the full deployment of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission to offer marine data users the global and frequent observations they need to monitor and forecast the ocean.

The dual-satellite Sentinel-3 mission is one of the six Sentinel missions deployed and exploited by ESA and EUMETSAT as the space component of the European Union’s flagship Copernicus Earth observation programme.


Under an agreement with the EU, EUMETSAT already performs flight operations of the Sentinel-3A satellite in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). EUMETSAT also extracts marine products from the observations of the three instrument suites, the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI), the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) and the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL) and distributes them in real time, while ESA is responsible for land observations and products. In addition, EUMETSAT exploits the Jason-3 high precision ocean altimeter mission in synergy with Sentinel-3A on behalf of the EU, in partnership with CNES, NOAA and NASA.

After contributing to the new satellite commissioning led by the European Space Agency (ESA), EUMETSAT will take over the control of Sentinel-3B, perform flight operations of the Sentinel-3 two-satellite configuration from its Darmstadt headquarters and deliver two Sentinel-3 marine data streams.

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Moon holds key to improving satellite views of Earth

Many Earth observation satellites make use of an added ingredient to ensure reliable, good quality environmental data: the Moon.

While the surface of the Earth is ever changing, the face of the Moon has stayed the same for millions of years, apart from occasional meteoroid impacts. This makes the light reflecting from the lunar surface an ideal calibration source for optical Earth-observing instruments. Now an ESA-led project has plans to make it more useful still.

Source: ESA Space Engineering & Technology

An instrument has been placed high on the slopes of Mount Teide in Tenerife, above the majority of clouds and airborne dust, designed to measure nightly variations in moonlight, to hone the accuracy of lunar calibration efforts in future.

“Space agencies across the globe use the Moon to assess and monitor the calibration of optical Earth observation instruments,” explains Marc Bouvet, overseeing the project for ESA. “These instruments are carefully calibrated before launch, but in space their performance can gradually drift, due to radiation or lens contamination for instance, or mechanical changes.

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CryoSat reveals retreat of Patagonian glaciers

While ESA’s CryoSat continues to provide clear insight into how much sea ice is being lost and how the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice sheets are changing, the mission has again surpassed its original scope by revealing exactly how mountain glaciers are also succumbing to change.

Glaciers all over the globe are retreating – and for the last 15 years, glacial ice has been the main cause of sea-level rise.

Source: ESA Observing the Earth

Apart from Antarctica, Patagonia is home to the biggest glaciers in the southern hemisphere, but some are retreating faster than anywhere else in the world.

This is because the weather is relatively warm and these glaciers typically terminate in fjords and lakes, exacerbating surface melting and causing them to flow faster and lose ice as icebergs at their margins.

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