Mission Science Division

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Acronym ESA
Website www.esa.int/livingplanet

The Mission Science Division is a group of scientists, research fellows and young graduates working at the European Space Agency (ESA) within the Science, Applications and Future Technologies Department of the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes. The Division is located at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, South Holland, The Netherlands.


The Mission Science Division (MSD) is part of the Science, Applications and Future Technologies Department, within the Earth Observation Programmes Directorate. The Division is responsible for ensuring the application of scientific and other user community requirements in all phases of the development of Earth Observation missions, from precursor studies through to initial in-orbit satellite operations, and for ensuring coherence throughout with the objectives expressed in the mission requirements documents, including the management of mission-specific advisory structures (where required).

In support of the preparations for each ESA Earth Observation mission, the Division initiates and conducts supporting scientific studies (in house and external), and organises, coordinates and executes related Campaigns for the purpose of acquiring airborne, balloon-borne, or in-situ data.

European Space Research and Technology Centre
ESTEC buildings in Noordwijk, Netherlands
Abbreviation ESTEC
Parent organization
European Space Agency
Website [1]

Mission Science Division Management[edit]

The Mission Science Division management team are:

  • M. Drinkwater (Head of Mission Science Division)
  • P. Ingmann (Head of Atmospheric Section)
  • R. Haagmans (Head of Earth Surfaces and Interior Section)
  • M. Davidson (Head of Campaigns Section)

Research Satellites[edit]

The Mission Science Division currently works on seven approved ESA Earth explorers [2], with a future eighth mission to be selected from two candidate Earth Explorer Opportunity mission concepts, namely:

Earth Explorer Core missions[edit]

Earth Explorer Opportunity missions[edit]

The following two candidate Opportunity missions are undergoing feasibility study (Phase A/B1):

The next Call for proposals for Earth Explorer missions is planned in the 2014 timeframe.

Operational Satellites[edit]

The Division also currently supports the development of three approved GMES Sentinel Missions as part of the Space Component of the joint EC/ESA Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative

Approved GMES missions[edit]

External links[edit]

For more information, see