Copernicus Space Component

The Copernicus Space Component Programme (CSC) (formerly GMES Space Component) provides the development and construction of dedicated operational EO  satellites or instruments for the EU programme Copernicus. They are divided into different families that each generates specific EO data. These data support the Copernicus information services within the EU programme and have to generate opportunities for the commercial market.
The first series of missions are called the Sentinels and were launched from 2014:

  • Sentinel-1: mission to provide radar images for land and ocean services;
  • Sentinel-2: mission to produce high resolution multispectral imagery for monitoring land, inland and coastal areas;
  • Sentinel-3: mission with different instruments for monitoring land and oceans;
  • Sentinel-5 Precursor: dedicated to gases and aerosols;
  • Sentinel-4: mission for atmospheric research, as payload aboard a MTG satellite;
  • Sentinel-5: Polar orbit atmospheric research mission, as payload aboard MetOp SG satellite;
  • Sentinel-6: mission with radar altimeter to measure the height of the sea surface worldwide.

As not all observation needs are covered by the current Sentinels, additional missions are being developed. It concerns 6 new types:

  • CO2M: mission to measure anthropogenic CO2;
  • LSTM: mission to measure the temperature of the land surface;
  • CHIME: hyperspectral mission;
  • ROSE-L: L-band radar mission to monitor subsidence, soil moisture, different crop types, forests, polar ice and seasonal snow;
  • CIMR: mission to observe the sea-surface temperature, sea-ice concentration and sea-surface salinity;
  • CRISTAL: mission to measure the thicknesses of sea ice and determine snow depths.

For each type of missions, multiple satellites are built to ensure observations in time and frequency for Copernicus services.
In a later stage, new generation Sentinels will be built to replace the older 1st generation Sentinels.

The programme is funded by the ESA member states and by the European Commission, which has the full responsibility for the EU Copernicus programme.

More info


Steven Bogaerts
Space Research & Applications