European Space Agency (ESA)

ESA is a key partner in the development of satellites required by EUMETSAT's mandatory programmes, as well as in the European Copernicus Initiative.

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. Having 22 Member States, ESA coordinates the financial and intellectual resources of its members and can thus undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.


ESA and EUMETSAT have long standing links. The Meteosat programme was initiated in the 1970s as an ESA programme. When Meteosat satellites 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 (MSG) and EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) programmes, and are cooperating on future EUMETSAT programmes such as Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) and EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG).

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 through a fixed-share (30%) 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 Copernicus initiative. EUMETSAT will be the operational agency for the ESA Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite (oceanography) and for the Sentinel-4 and -5 (atmosphere monitoring), as part of the MTG and EPS-SG programmes, and of the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 mission, together with the U.S. Partners (NASA and NOAA).

ESA and EUMETSAT are the European partners of the CEOS Secretariat.

For more information, please visit the ESA Homepage.

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