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European Commission, ESA sign €3bn Copernicus contract

Belgium, October 28, 2014: The European Commission and ESA have signed an agreement of over Euro3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus ‘space component’ between 2014 and 2021. ESA will also act as the research and development agency for the next generation of Copernicus.

The Multiannual Financial Framework is a seven-year plan for the EU’s budget that includes the provision of about Euro4.3 billion for the Copernicus environment monitoring programme for the period 2014-20. Under the agreement, about Euro3.15 billion of the money for Copernicus within the Framework will be delegated to ESA as coordinator of the ‘space component’, including the operation of the Sentinel satellites until mid-2021 and the building of follow-on units, which should last at least until 2028-30.

The signing of the agreement also marks the transfer of ownership of Sentinel-1A to the EU. “The Copernicus programme is an excellent example of innovation and cooperation in Europe and the signature today marks a milestone in the cooperation between ESA and the EU,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General.

The agreement comes just weeks after the first Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-1A, became operational following intense data quality testing and calibration during its commissioning phase.

Source: ESA