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Between Heaven and Earth: What does space tell us about life on Earth?

Between Heaven and Earth: What does space tell us about life on Earth?

Airbus Space Strategies for Environmental Monitoring High-tech solutions to address climate challenges

Satellites have been orbiting the Earth for more than 60 years, transmitting vital information about weather patterns, the planet’s surface, atmosphere, and the solar system in general.

However, technological developments, such as artificial intelligence and big data processing, have turned these satellites into essential tools in the current development context that can measure small changes from orbit and transmit data to Earth directly and without any delay.

Airbus Defense and Space has been building Earth observation satellites for 40 years that have seen nearly 70 satellites launched with advanced technologies and tools that capture data from distances of more than 1,000 kilometers.

Harnessing the power of space to improve life on Earth

Airbus satellites monitor intricate details from space that include soil moisture levels, ocean salinity levels, and measure the thickness and rate of change of polar ice sheets.

While these data may not seem important at first glance, they play a vital role in helping researchers and scientists produce global reports such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which use key climate variables identified by the Global Climate Observing System to characterize observations. , which includes the atmosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere, and the oceans, things of which 50% can only be seen from space. Governments, scientists, and researchers need satellites to understand the speed and extent of climate change today than ever before.

Over time, the world has seen the importance of environmental data, something that will become even more important over the next two decades as the world continues to strive to curb global warming. In this context, Airbus is proud to work with global organizations to provide the information needed to help protect the planet and prepare societies for the climate of the future.

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Airbus Defense and Space has been a partner of the European Space Agency for nearly 40 years. Airbus is currently building the Earth observation satellite for the Biomass Program (BIOMASS), which records the long-term condition and size of Earth’s forests.

The Space Environmental Mission will last five years, providing data on deforestation, carbon levels, and more accurate information about the planet’s carbon cycle. The satellite is specifically designed to produce “global scale maps of biomass and its changes due to forest loss (logging/fires) and regrowth” to guide policy and program decisions on agriculture, biodiversity, and international agreements and treaties.

Copernicus Program

The Copernicus Programme – after the Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus known as the “father of modern astronomy” – is managed by the European Commission and jointly implemented by Member States, the European Space Agency, the European Union, the European Environment Agency, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and the European Center for Forecasting Intermediate-Range Aeronautics, other European Union agencies, and the non-profit oceanographic organization Mercator Ocean.

In pursuit of creating “the world’s most ambitious Environment and Climate Monitoring Program,” the Copernicus Program monitors and collects data on Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, climate change, land, security, and emergency management assistance.

The program dates back decades and includes six families of Sentinel satellites that have been orbiting the Earth since 2014. Airbus has contributed to all of these, notably the Sentinel-2 mission, of which Airbus has built two of its satellites and two more are in development. In 2020, six new missions are announced to expand the capabilities of the existing Copernicus space component, and Airbus is responsible for spacecraft or payloads for 3 of the 6 new Copernican environmental and Earth observation missions: LSTM, altimeter and ice and snow topography. The Polar (CRISTAL), the Europe-L-band Radar Surveillance System (Rose-L), and the provision of equipment for all missions.

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The radar-equipped satellites measure a range of environmental data points, such as aerosol levels, the ozone layer, atmospheric composition and biodiversity, help measure air quality, assess coastal and forest areas, and monitor the Earth’s surface around the clock thanks to their ability to penetrate cloud layers.

This data guides European policy and provides decision makers with comprehensive environmental information through Airbus’ ground infrastructure.

It should be noted that Copernicus data is free and available on smartphones and tablets, accessible to researchers and the general public.

These are just a few of the ways Airbus is leveraging its technology and expertise to help gather vital information about the health of our planet and send it to stakeholders for analysis and building on. The more advanced satellites become, the more accurate and useful the data they can provide us with.

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