ALOS, Japan’s latest Earth Observation satellite, was successfully launched on 24 January 2006. Environmental data and imagery from ALOS will be provided to European and African users through a cooperative agreement between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) is a four-tonne satellite dedicated to land-based Earth Observation. It was lifted-off from the Tanegashima Space Centre on an H-IIA launch vehicle, which will deliver ALOS into a 700-km polar orbit. ESA is supporting ALOS as a ‘Third Party Mission’, which means the Agency will utilise its multi-mission ground systems of existing national and industrial facilities and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite. Based on a Memorandum of Understanding with JAXA, approved at ESA Council in December and now ready for signature, ESA will host the ALOS European Data Node (ADEN), delivering near-real time and offline data to scientific and operational users across Europe as well as Africa.