Germany: The ground segment for GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) will be completed soon. The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be the European data center for GMES satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3.
“The expertise available at DLR in earth observation and data processing is fundamental for the successful establishment of the European data center planned by ESA,” explained Prof Hansjörg Dittus, DLR management board member responsible for space research and technology.
“Because of its unique combination of research and engineering abilities, DLR has been a reliable partner of ESA for many years in designing and operating complex systems for the reception, processing and archiving of earth observation data,” emphasised Prof Volker Liebig, Director of the earth observation programme of ESA.
Starting already in 2013, data from Sentinel-1, and later also data from the land and ocean sensor on the Sentinal-3 satellites (the Ocean and Land Color Imager, OLCI) will be processed to yield information products, distributed to users, and archived long-term. ESA is providing EUR 13.6 million over seven years to establish and operate the data center. This new GMES data center is to a large extent based on existing infrastructure. The existing computer setup and national data archive at DLR will be expanded in the coming months in order to handle the additional data requirements of over two petabytes (1 petabyte = 1 quadrillion) of data to be processed annually.
The radar instruments on the Sentinel-1 satellites will collect data globally from the earth’s land surface and oceans, independent of cloud cover and time of day. With the Sentinel-1 satellites the polar ice caps can be completely monitored, oil spills in the oceans can be identified, and floods and other natural disasters rapidly mapped over large areas.
The land and ocean sensor on the Sentinel-3 satellites can acquire data from the entire earth surface within two days, using 21 spectral channels and with a ground resolution of 300 meters. This will provide important parameters of global change relating to vegetation dynamics, water quality and the carbon cycle.
On July 24, Prof Volker Liebig, DLR’s Prof Hansjörg Dittus and the director of DFD, Prof Stefan Dech, signed a contract in Oberpfaffenhofen to establish a GMES Processing and Archiving Center (PAC).