EU Commissioner Breton Calls for Europe to Boost Competitiveness & Security in Space

Thierry Breton (Credit: European Parliament from EU – Hearing of Commissioner-designate Thierry Breton, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84550660)

Speech by EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton at the 14th EU Space Conference

“Check against delivery”

Dear Ministers and Member State representatives,
Chère Sophie Wilmès,
Honourable Members of the European Parliament,
Dear friends from the space sector,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to open this European Space Conference. It is good to see you all in this room this morning.

Europe is a space power. It has the necessary expertise, industrial capacity, start-ups and assets to weigh in on the global stage. But there is no time for complacency.

The space sector is undergoing a massive transformation. 

On the one hand, the booming of private operators changes the business model of space, combining both large and small industry, space and digital ecosystems. This is a major opportunity for Europe. We need to unleash this potential.

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Sentinel-6 Returning Most Precise Data Ever on Sea Level

Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission spacecraft (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Sea-level rise is one of the most immediate consequences of climate change, as highlighted recently through urgent pleas from leaders of island nations at the COP26 summit. Global measures of sea-level rise are imperative to underpinning global policy and for strategies to protect coastlines and low-lying lands. Measuring tiny differences in the height of the sea surface from space is no easy task – but that’s exactly what the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is doing. And, after a year of exhaustive testing, this new mission is now delivering the world’s most accurate data on sea-level rise. 

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Space-enabled Big Data Reveals the Bigger Picture

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over Morbihan – a French department in the south of Brittany. Zoom in to see this image at its full 10 m resolution or click on the circles to learn more about the features in it. (Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

PARIS (ESA PR) — How the world is responding to life under the coronavirus pandemic is being illuminated by real-time economic indicators informed by data from space.

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European Union Commissioner, Secure World Foundation Condemn Russian ASAT Test

Thierry Breton
European Union Commissioner for Internal Market

As the European Union Commissioner in charge of EU Space policy and in particular of Galileo & Copernicus, I join the strongest condemnations expressed against the test conducted by Russia on Monday 15 Nov., which led to the destruction of a satellite in low orbit (COSMOS 1408).

This anti-satellite weapon test has caused the generation of a significant amount of debris of a size that could endanger the European Union’s space activities as well as those of our Member States.

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ESA and GHGSat Support New International Methane Emissions Observatory

MethaneSAT (Credit: EDF)

GLASGOW, Scotland (ESA PR) — In the first 20 years of reaching the atmosphere, methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide. Reducing emissions of this extremely potent gas is, therefore, one of the fastest ways of slowing the rate of global warming, at least in the short term – and at COP26, more than 100 countries have just signed up to the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to limit emissions by 30% compared with 2020 levels.

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EUMETSAT to Operate Largest Number of Sentinel Missions Under Copernicus 2.0 Agreement

Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) satellite. (Credit: Airbus)

DARMSTADT, Germany (EUMETSAT PR) — Europe’s meteorological satellite agency, EUMETSAT, will become the largest operator of the Copernicus programme’s Sentinel satellite missions under an agreement signed with the European Commission today. Copernicus is a component of the European Union Space Programme. It looks at our planet and its environment for the benefit of all European citizens. It offers information services that draw from satellite Earth Observation and in-situ (non-space) data.

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European System Speeds Data Flow with 50,000 Links

EDRS-A in geostationary orbit (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Valuable data is flowing rapidly from Earth observing satellites back to the planet, thanks to the most sophisticated laser communication network ever built.

Day-and-night radar images and multispectral high-resolution images of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas – as well as information for emergency services – are arriving back at Earth in almost real time.

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ESA, European Union Sign New Partnership Agreement on Joint Space Programs

PARIS (ESA PR) — After months of constructive negotiations, ESA and EU signed today a new Financial Framework Partnership Agreement (FFPA) in a ceremony to celebrate the launch of the new EU space programme.   

This will mark a fresh start for space activities in Europe and represents an important step forward in the relationship between ESA and EU. It is also one of the top priorities of Agenda 2025, the roadmap of ESA’s Director General Josef Aschbacher.

“This is a major achievement for ESA, recognised for its scientific excellence and technical expertise in designing space systems and ground facilities for the benefit of European citizens,” said ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

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ESA Satellites Monitoring Methane Emissions From Gas Pipelines

Methane hotspots over a gas pipeline in Kazakhstan. [Credits: Modified Copernicus data (2020), processed by Kayrros]

PARIS (ESA PR) — For the first time, scientists, using satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel missions, are now able to detect individual methane plumes leaking from natural gas pipelines around the globe.

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The Good, the Bad and the Brexit: UK’s Participation in European Space Programs Curtailed by EU Departure

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although the United Kingdom’s (UK) “Brexit” departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1 will not affect its membership status in the European Space Agency (ESA), the nation’s participation in a number of European space programs is either ending or being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the UK and EU announced an agreement in principle that will govern trade, security and political relations after Brexit. Under the agreement, the UK’s participation in the:

  • Galileo satellite navigation and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program will end;
  • Copernicus Earth observation satellite program will continue, contingent upon a further agreement to be worked out next year; and
  • EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) program will end, although the Britain will continue to receive data as a non-EU country.
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Interplanetary Internet & Cameras in Space: ESA’s OPS-SAT First Results

As a flying laboratory, ESA’s OPS-SAT will test and validate new techniques in mission control and on-board systems. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — OPS-SAT is the world’s first open, in-orbit testbed for new spacecraft software and applications. By conducting low-cost, low-risk experiments with OPS-SAT, teams from across Europe are ushering in a new era for European spaceflight innovation and commercial opportunity.

  • OPS-SAT’s commissioning phase ended in September and the first experiments are now being carried out in orbit
  • Innovative new technologies are being tested on OPS-SAT in areas such as artificial intelligence, data compression, and space-based web services
  • Initial experimental results have exceeded expectations
  • Results from many more experiments expected soon
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Teledyne e2v Signs Detector Supply Contract for Copernicus Sentinel MAP Instrument

Teledyne e2v’s Space Imaging division completes signing of Thales Alenia Space contract for the supply of a specialized image sensor for the Multi-Angle Polarimeter (MAP)

CHELMSFORD, UK, December 15, 2020 (Teledyne e2v) – Teledyne e2v, a part of the Teledyne Imaging Group, will supply image sensors to the recently announced grouped proposal of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) industrial policy committee to place six Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions in space. As the sensor partner for Thales Alenia Space, the UK team will develop, manufacture and supply variants of their Capella CMOS visible image sensor from Chelmsford.

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NASA, US, European Partner Satellite Returns First Sea Level Measurements

The data in this graphic are the first sea surface height measurements from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich (S6MF) satellite, which launched Nov. 21, 2020. They show the ocean off the southern tip of Africa, with red colors indicating higher sea level relative to blue areas, which are lower. (Credits: EUMETSAT)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, a joint U.S.-European satellite built to measure global sea surface height, has sent back its first measurements of sea level. The data provide information on sea surface height, wave height, and wind speed off the southern tip of Africa.

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Thales Alenia Space Signs Contract with ESA to Build Copernicus ROSE-L Satellite

ROSE-L satellite (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

ROME (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), announced today that it has signed a 482 million euro contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to build the Copernicus Radar Observation System for Europe in L-band (ROSE-L) environmental monitoring satellite, as part of Europe’s Copernicus program, the first tranche being 90 million euros.

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Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Satellite Set to Launch on Saturday From Vandenberg

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite undergoes final preparations in a clean room at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for an early November launch. (Credits: ESA/Bill Simpson)

The newest satellite to monitor global sea level is ready for its journey into space. Here’s what to expect.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, the latest in a series of spacecraft designed to monitor our oceans, is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The satellite will be followed in 2025 by its twin, Sentinel-6B. Together, the pair is tasked with extending our nearly 30-year-long record of global sea surface height measurements. Instruments aboard the satellites will also provide atmospheric data that will improve weather forecasts, climate models, and hurricane tracking.

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