The European Space Agency
ESA is a key partner in the development of satellites required by EUMETSAT's mandatory programmes.
ESA has 19 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA's mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. The Agency’s programmes are designed to find out more about the Earth, its immediate space environment, the solar system and the Universe; to develop satellite-based technologies and services; and to promote European industries. ESA also works closely with space organisations beyond Europe.
ESA and EUMETSAT
ESA and EUMETSAT have long standing links. The Meteosat programme was initiated in the 1970s as an ESA programme. When had demonstrated their operational capacities, EUMETSAT was created to take over and develop operational satellite meteorological programmes in Europe.
Since then, EUMETSAT and ESA have cooperated closely in the development of the current EUMETSAT Meteosat Second Generation () and EUMETSAT Polar System () programmes, and are also cooperating on future EUMETSAT programmes such as Meteosat Third Generation ( ) and EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation ().
Under their terms of agreement, ESA is responsible for the development of the space segment of EUMETSAT programmes, and EUMETSAT is responsible for the overall system (e.g. launch services, the ground segment and the operations for the duration of the mission).
As a general rule, ESA funds a major part of the development costs of the first satellite of a series; EUMETSAT financially contributes to its development costs and fully funds the costs of the launch and operations of the remaining satellites, including their Ground Segment.
ESA and EUMETSAT also collaborate in the European Global Monitoring for Environment and Security ( ) initiative. EUMETSAT will be the operational agency for the ESA GMES Sentinel-3 satellite (oceanography) and for the Sentinel-4 and -5 (atmosphere monitoring), as part of the MTG and EPS-SG programmes.
In the GMES context, ESA and EUMETSAT work together with the EC and US partners (NASA and NOAA) to secure the continuation of high precision ocean altimetry missions. On 20 July 2009, ESA and EUMETSAT signed a Framework Agreement on their cooperation on GMES.
ESA and EUMETSAT are the Euuropean partners of the Secretariat.