Published on 7 July 2020
Following the financial commitment from ESA Member States at last November’s Council at Ministerial Level Space19+, ESA’s industrial policy committee has approved contracts totalling €2.55 billion to forward the development of six new Copernicus satellite missions, each mission comprising two satellites, a development and a recurrent unit.
The overall package is co-funded by the EU and ESA Member States, and relies on future funding from the EU Multiannual financial framework.
The approval provides the green light to start industrial contracts for the six missions. However, two important milestones need to be met before the missions can be fully developed: an agreement between ESA and the EU for the EU co-funded part of the programme, and a positive decision by the EC as well as ESA/EU Member States to go from Phase B2 to Phase C/D.
This decision point is planned in the second half of 2021.
Copernicus is the biggest provider of Earth observation data in the world – and while the EU is at the helm of this environmental monitoring programme, ESA develops, builds and launches the dedicated satellites. It also operates some of the missions and ensures the availability of data from third party missions.