On 11 July 2011 Volker Liebig, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA), and Evert Dudok, Chief Executive Officer of Astrium Satellites, signed a contract to develop and build two satellite sensors that will monitor Earth’s atmosphere as part of Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.
The identical spectrometers, known as Sentinel-4, will each be carried on Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellites, to be launched in 2019 and 2027. From geostationary orbit 36 000 km above the equator, Sentinel-4 will provide data every hour on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The mission will also help to improve the monitoring of plumes from volcanic eruptions.
Sentinel-4 is one of the five missions that ESA is developing for the GMES programme. Through GMES, decision-makers will have reliable, timely and accurate information to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.