Canada signs Copernicus Arrangement with the European Commission

Canadian Space Agency president Lisa Campbell and Timo Pesonen, European Commission Director-General for Defence Industry and Space sign the Copernicus Arrangement. Credit: European Commission.

The Canadian Space Agency today signed the Copernicus Arrangement, an Earth Observation data sharing agreement with the European Commission.

Copernicus is the European Union’s (EU) Earth observation program and is managed by the European Commission. The program includes the member states of the EU in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and the EU Agencies and Mercator Océan.

A news release by the European Commission states that “the aim of the Arrangement is to share each other’s satellite Earth Observation data on the basis of reciprocity. This Arrangement will provide mutual benefits. On the one hand, the Canadian Space Agency intend to provide end-users in Canada with a facilitated and simplified access to data from Copernicus. On the other hand, Copernicus services deliver near-real-time data on a global level through satellite and in situ systems like ground based sensors. With access to such systems from Canada, Copernicus services will be better and more precise. The Copernicus Arrangement will contribute a reinforced cooperation with Canada in several areas, especially on the Arctic region and on climate action. The signature of the Arrangement is followed by a High-Level Meeting between the Canadian Space Agency and the Commission to discuss future opportunities for space cooperation.”

The Copernicus program is divided into groups that collect data:

  • The Sentinels (satellites), which are developed for the specific needs of the Copernicus programme. Sentinel-1, -2, -3 and -6 are dedicated satellites, while Sentinel-4 and -5 are instruments onboard EUMETSAT’s weather satellites. Note that Sentinel-5P, which is a precursor to Sentinel-5, is also a dedicated satellite;
  • The Contributing Missions, which are operated by National, European or International organisations and already provide a wealth of data for Copernicus services.

Canada is working towards implementing a new Earth observation strategy including the recently funded smartEarth initiative. For Canadian scientists, access to the EU’s Earth observation data through the Copernicus program will be beneficial.

Watch this background video on the Copernicus Program

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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