Recent availability of low-cost small satellites and innovation of constellations has resulted in an increasing number of commercial companies having established information services fed by their own satellite systems. ESA aims to foster cooperation and collaboration with not only other national space agencies, but also these ‘New Space’ players, inviting some missions as potential candidates for ESA’s long-standing Earthnet Programme.
The Earthnet Data Assessment Pilot (EDAP), headed by Telespazio UK, provides a consortium of expertise to assess data quality and suitability of individual missions for this purpose, as well as to establish dialogue with the various mission providers in order to improve the overall coherence of the EO system.
The EDAP service is responsible for the following:
- Developing a common framework for mission quality assessment aligned to QA4EO guidelines –> Best Practice
- Performing Early Data Quality Assessments on a series of ‘New Space’ instruments and missions, based on the defined best practice guidelines
- Creating Clusters of Expertise; teams of instrument experts to perform the assessment focusing on specific instrument domains covering low-resolution, medium-resolution and high-resolution optical, SAR sensors and atmospheric missions
- Undertaking multi-mission data quality assessments, facilitating future applications and allowing interoperability across missions to foster synergies
- Supporting ESA in organising workshops related to data quality.
Telespazio UK is the prime contractor for the EDAP Service, responsible for the overall Service Management, as well as the coordination and provision of expertise for all the optical instrument domains. The various Clusters of Expertise within the EDAP consortium are presented below:
The various missions currently under assessment, within each of the instrument domains, are shown below:
In addition to EDAP’s clusters supporting specific instrument types, a cluster dedicated to multi-mission studies supports cross-instrument activities with a view to benefiting the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) environment, facilitating future applications and allowing interoperability across missions to foster synergies. A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Comparison Study is the first of these studies and is currently underway concerning the quality assessment of the Digital Elevation Models in specific conditions.
The EDAP Service also supports ESA in the organisation of workshops related to data quality. These focus on assessments of the coherence and fitness for purpose of EO data from various missions, based on the model of the Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation’s (JACIE) format. The 2019 Very High-resolution Radar & Optical Data Assessment (VH-RODA) was one such workshop organised by EDAP. This first EDAP workshop provided an open forum (new space and institutional) for the presentation and discussion of the status and future developments related to the calibration and validation of space borne very high-resolution SAR and optical sensors and data products. Telespazio UK attended this event, where several members of the team chaired and presented sessions.