Australia and Europe welcome 'colour vision' as Sentinel Satellite is sent into orbit

24 June 2015

Lift off of Sentinel-2A

Image courtesy of ESA-M. Pedoussaut, 2015

Space collaboration between the European Union and Australia has taken an important step forward today with the launch of the latest of Europe's Sentinel satellites. This satellite, containing advanced 'colour vision' instruments will play a crucial role in monitoring the Earth's surface. The data it produces will help address some of the world's most important issues, while also driving new economic activity in the digital economy, and increasing productivity across key sectors such as agriculture and mining.

The data and products from this satellite will provide Australia with information to help support the management of iconic environmental sites like the Great Barrier Reef, improve agricultural productivity, assure future water availability, and help create resilience to natural disasters.

Speaking after the successful satellite launch, Geoscience Australia's Environmental Division Chief, Dr Stuart Minchin remarked "We are incredibly excited to be finalising our partnership with the European Copernicus programme that is developing important new satellite-based capabilities to monitor the Earth. It will provide an advanced platform to address some of the world's major economic and environmental challenges.

"I cannot understate the importance of the European Union's (EU) decision to make this data freely available to all users. This policy positions Europe alongside the United States at the heart of international efforts to understand our Earth from space," said Dr Minchin.

The EU's Ambassador to Australia, Sem Fabrizi, said the spectacular launch provided a platform to significantly increase the European-Australian space collaboration through sharing data and innovation technologies.

"The EU's policy of providing full and free access to data from this programme also creates significant opportunities for European and Australian industry to work together to utilise this data," Ambassador Fabrizi said.

The Australian Government, through Geoscience Australia, are in the process of finalising an agreement with the EU that will create significant opportunities for European and Australian collaboration in both the public and private sector.

"We are pleased to be offering our specialist expertise through innovations, such as our high performance data processing tool - the Australian Geoscience Data Cube - to support the success of Europe's space program. Our partnership with the European space community will create significant opportunities for Australia's digital industries to access the growing international space application marketplace," said Dr Minchin.