Living Planet Programme

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Living Planet Programme (LPP) [1] is a programme within the European Space Agency which is managed by the Earth Observation Programmes Directorate. LPP consists of two classes of Earth observation missions (listed below) including research missions known as Earth Explorers, and the Earth Watch class of missions whose objective is to develop support operational applications such as numerical weather forecasting or resource management.

List of Earth Explorers missions[edit]

Selected missions[edit]

Currently there are nine approved Earth Explorer missions, four (SMOS, CryoSat-2, SWARM, Aeolus) of which are in orbit and operating:

  • GOCE – Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer; it was launched on 17 March 2009.[2] It reentered the atmosphere on 11 November 2013.
  • SMOS – Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite[3][4] will study ocean salinity and soil moisture; it was launched on 2 November 2009.[5]
  • CryoSat – a program designed to map the Earth's ice cover.
    • CryoSat-1 was lost in 2005 when the Russian SS-19 Rockot launch vehicle malfunctioned and was terminated.
    • CryoSat-2 was launched on 8 April 2010.
  • Swarm – a trio of satellites to map the Earth's magnetic field.[6] The SWARM constellation was launched successfully on 22 November 2013.[7]
  • Aeolus – the Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus uses an innovative laser to measure global winds. Aeolus was successfully launched on 22 August 2018.[8][9]

Approved, but yet to launch :

  • EarthCARE – Earth Clouds Aerosols and Radiation Explorer will examine the formation and effects of clouds.[10][11] Due to launch in March 2023.[12]
  • BIOMASS – designed to calculate the amount of carbon stored in the world's forests, and to monitor for any changes over the course of its five-year mission.[13][14][15] Due to launch in 2023.[16]
  • FLEX – the FLuorescence EXplorer mission will globally monitor steady-state chlorophyll fluorescence in terrestrial vegetation.[17] It is planned to launch in mid-2024.[18]
  • FORUM – Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring; a mission to measure Earth's outgoing radiation emissions across the entire far-infrared electromagnetic spectrum, in order to gain insight into water vapour and cirrus cloud regulation of the planet's surface temperature. It is currently projected to launch in 2026.[19]

Earth Explorer 10 Candidates[edit]

There is currently an ongoing competition for the Earth Explorer 10 mission.[20][21] The three finalists are:

The winning candidate is currently projected to launch in 2027 or 2028.[20]

Earth Explorer 11[edit]

The competition for the Earth Explorer 11 mission will occur in the early 2020s. A call for proposal ideas was released on 25 May 2020, with the deadline for submission on 4 December 2020. The winning candidate is projected to launch in 2031 or 2032.[22]

Non-selected missions[edit]

Past candidate missions that were not selected include:

  • CoReH2O – a mission to study key characteristics in terrestrial snow, ice, and water cycles and their relations to climate change and variability.[23] Competed with BIOMASS and PREMIER for the Earth Explorer 7 mission opportunity.
  • PREMIER – a mission to study atmospheric processes related to trace gas, radiation, and chemical compositions in the mid to upper troposphere and lower stratosphere in order to understand their role on climate change.[24] Competed with BIOMASS and CoReH2O for the Earth Explorer 7 mission opportunity.
  • CarbonSat – a mission to determine the global distributions of carbon dioxide and methane and their impact on climate change.[25] Competed with FLEX for the Earth Explorer 8 mission opportunity.
  • SKIM – a mission to measure ocean-surface currents using the Doppler technique, in order to improve understanding of the ocean current dynamics behind the hydrological and geochemical cycles.[26][27] Competed with FORUM for the Earth Explorer 9 mission opportunity.


  1. ^ ESA's Living Planet Programme European Space Agency
  2. ^ GOCE site, ESA, retrieved 30 January 2016
  3. ^ "ESA's water mission SMOS". ESA. 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  4. ^ Drinkwater, Mark; Kerr, Yann; Font, Jordi; Berger, Michael (February 2009). "Exploring the Water Cycle of the 'Blue Planet': The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission" (PDF). ESA Bulletin. European Space Agency (137): 6–15.
  5. ^ Amos, Jonathan (2 November 2009). "European water mission lifts off". BBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Eurockot to launch two ESA Earth observation missions". ESA. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Esa's satellite Swarm launch to map Earth's magnetism". BBC News. 22 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Aeolus – ESA Future Missions". ESA. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  9. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (22 May 2015). "Cost, Schedule Woes on 2 Lidar Missions Push ESA To Change Contract Procedures". SpaceNews. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  10. ^ "ESA signs EUR 263m earth monitoring satellite contract". Environment Expert. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  11. ^ "EarthCARE – Earth Online – ESA". ESA. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  12. ^ "EarthCARE ESA Validation Portal". ESA. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Biomass". ESA. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Biomass – ESA Future Missions". ESA. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  15. ^ Jonathan Amos (8 May 2013). "Esa approves Biomass satellite to monitor Earth's forests". BBC News. (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Biomass – ESA's forest mission". ESA. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  17. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (25 September 2015). "Panel Endorses Vegetation Fluorescence Mapper for ESA's Earth Explorer Program". SpaceNews. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Fluorescence Explorer (FLEX) – Facts and Figures". ESA. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  19. ^ "A new satellite to understand how Earth is losing its cool". ESA. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Three Earth Explorer ideas selected". ESA. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  21. ^ "About future missions". ESA. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Calling for ideas for next Earth Explorer". ESA. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  23. ^ "CoReH2O – Report for Mission Selection – An Earth Explorer to observe snow and ice". ESA. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  24. ^ "PREMIER – Report for Mission Selection – An Earth Explorer to observe atmospheric composition". ESA. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Reports on Earth Explorer Candidates CarbonSat and FLEX Now Available". ESA. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Two new Earth Explorer concepts to understand our rapidly changing world". ESA. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Save the date: Earth Explorer 9 User Consultation Meeting". ESA. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.