Parliamentary visit to ESOC highlights Earth observation benefits

Parliamentarians from African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union visited ESOC today.

The parliamentarians are in Germany for the Joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP-EU, which is taking place in Wiesbaden, 23-28 June 2007.

The delegates were accompanied by members of the European Parliament and the European Union Commission and were briefed on ESA’s Earth observation missions and benefits for governments concerned with environmental monitoring and climate change.
The visit underlined the increasing use of space applications for environmental monitoring and also highlighted the opportunity for emerging states to protect their environment today for future development.

During the visit, Gaele Winters, ESA’s Director of Operations and Infrastructure, presented ESA’s role and ESOC’s responsibilities within the Agency, and discussed past and current missions as well as space applications for Galileo and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security); a European programme that provides autonomous and independent access to information for policy-makers, particularly in relation to environment and security.
Winters also explained ESA’s planetary missions and gave special attention to mission operations for Earth Observation (EO) using Envisat and ERS-2 results.

Dr Frank Diekmann, Envisat’s Spacecraft Operations Manager, gave a detailed presentation which focused on Earth Observation and its applications, and led a workshop on climate change monitoring – a topic which particularly interests both ACP states and European Union countries. Images from Envisat and ERS-2 emphasized ESA’s leading role in EO and scientific research.
The vast possibilities offered by EO satellites convinced the MPs’ (Members of Parliament) that the use of EO data could boost their efforts in protecting their continents.

At the end of the visit, participants took a guided tour through ESOC control rooms with Andreas Rudolph, a mission operations expert, who gave the delegates a direct view into spacecraft operations and an overall picture of EO missions and their applications.

Contact information: Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin

Author: EARSC

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