Supporting Europe’s optical satellite data needs now and in future: Contributions to TPM and DWH
Apel, Marcus; Paasche, Erika

RapidEye, as a leader in high-resolution, wide area repetitive coverage of earth through its constellation of five satellites, has successfully relocated the headquarters of the company to Berlin, Germany. In doing so, RapidEye has also enhanced its processing capacity and has expanded its product and service portfolio towards data mosaics and geo-cloud services.

Besides these significant changes RapidEye lately joined ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme and provides its huge data archive of nearly 4 Billion km2 to Category 1 users. Upon request from ESA and GMES Service Providers, RapidEye’s contribution to the Third Party Mission Programme was extended from archive data only to tasking orders.

Moreover RapidEye plays a major role in ESA’s Data Warehouse Programme (DWH). RapidEye provides an entire coverage of EEA 39 (HR CORE 001, COV#2) in various resolutions and projections. The particular challenge of COV#2 is to acquire the data in narrow time windows in spring and fall without haze, clouds (5% max. cloud cover on a country level) and perennial snow. Completion of the dataset and final delivery for the DWH project has been foreseen by the end of 2012. However, significant multiple changes of imaging windows and specifications requested by the GMES Service Providers prevented the imaging campaign and data delivery from meeting the final delivery milestone. Nevertheless, RapidEye managed to image and deliver 95% of the data until the first quarter of 2013 and has proven being the right choice to image large areas like the European continent.

Beyond the DWH project, ESA requested several datasets which are used for Sentinel-2 demonstration purposes. RapidEye data were used to simulate an entire Sentinel-2 swath over a certain area of interest. Moreover the revisit interval of both Sentinel-2 satellites was simulated over a multitude of AOIs spread all over the world by tasking the RapidEye constellation every 5 days over these particular sites which are of interest for the GMES Service Providers.

Continuous enhancements on the RapidEye system including increased processing capabilities as well as enlargement of the standard product portfolio, RapidEye is a reliable and important future partner for ESA to complete ESA’s data needs besides the Sentinel-2 mission. The ability to image more than 1 billion km² per year brings RapidEye into the position to deliver huge wall-to-wall coverages, multi-temporal datasets and therefore updated country coverages and mosaics. RapidEye has as well been proven the right choice to do rapid emergency tasking especially for the ADD datasets of the DWH programme. The 12/7 available Order Desk, which could even be extended, the continuously growing archive and our Data Continuity Programme (RapidEye’s Second Satellite System) is and will support ESA’s needs in the future.