Satellite Satellite

Literally, satellites are celestial objects, natural or artificial, which are periodically moved under the effect of gravity exerted by a body of greater importance. Used for over 50 years, satellites are launched into space in the framework of specific missions that fulfill a wide variety of objectives:

  • weather forecasting and climate change studies;
  • understanding of how the Earth system works and protecting the environment;
  • solar system exploration and knowledge acquisition in astronomy;
  • telecommunication for television and / or telephony;
  • navigational aids and traffic control;
  • surveillance of military operations.

Depending on the mission associated with it, the satellite may include a set of measuring instruments to take pictures, record data, etc. Several satellites have the mission to observe and acquire information on the Earth system and more particularly on the oceans. The parameters observed are varied and range from global observation of the marine geoid to surface measurements, as well as observation of the color of the oceans and sea states. Still in progress, completed, or to come, a whole ensemble of satellite missions allows global observation of the oceans.

Name of the satellite Objective of the mission Launch date (dd/mm/YYYY) End of mission date (dd/mm/YYYY)
SeasatObtaining oceanographic data and determining the characteristics of the ocean system 27/06/1978 10/10/1978
GeosatMarine geoid measurement 10/03/1985 31/01/1990
Spot-1Earth Observation 22/02/1986 2001
MOS-1Ocean Observation 19/02/1987 17/04/1996
Spot-2Earth Observation 22/01/1990 30/06/2009
ERS-1Earth System Description 17/07/1991 31/03/2000
Topex-PoséidonOcean surface measurement 10/08/1992 18/01/2006
Spot-3Earth Observation 26/09/1993 14/11/1996
ERS-2Earth System Description 21/04/1995 06/07/2011
RadarSAT-1Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation 04/11/1995 29/03/2013
ADEOS-1Measurement of surface winds and their direction 17/08/1996 30/06/1997
SeaWIFSOcean Color Observation 1997 2010
GFOOcean Topography Measurement 10/02/1998 26/11/2008
QuikSCATMeasurement of surface winds and their direction 19/07/1999 23/11/2009
Jason-1Ocean Surface Measurement 07/12/2001 01/07/2013
EnvisatObservation of both the atmosphere and the Earth's surface 01/03/2002 08/06/2012
IceSATObservation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice caps 13/01/2003 14/08/2010
AquariusEarth System Study and Ocean Salinity Measurement 10/06/2011 08/06/2015
Sentinel-1Radar image of ocean and land cover 03/04/2014 25/04/2016
TRMMRainfall amounts measurement in tropical and subtropical areas. 27/11/1997 15/04/2015
Name of the satellite Objective of the mission Launch date (dd/mm/YYYY)
Spot-4Earth Observation 24/03/1998
Spot-5Earth Observation 04/05/2002
AquaEarth and water cycle observation 04/05/2002
Meteosat-8Ocean surface observation and temperature measurement 28/08/2002
Meteosat-9Observation of the ocean surface and temperature measurement 21/12/2005
MetOp-AOcean Observation 19/10/2006
RadarSAT-2Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation 14/12/2007
Jason-2Ocean surface measurement 20/06/2008
OceanSAT-2Surface winds study and chlorophyll and phytoplankton bloom observation 23/09/2009
SMOSSalinity and humidity level measurement 02/11/2009
Cryosat-2Polar observations 08/04/2010
HY-2Oceans dynamic observation 15/08/2011
MEGHA-TROPIQUESAtmospheric study in intertropical areas 12/10/2011
Suomi-NPPProvide meteorological data 28/10/2011
Pléiades-1AEarth observation and very high resolution image acquisition 17/12/2011
Pléiades-1BEarth Observation and Very High Resolution Image Acquisition 01/12/2012
SaralOcean Observation 25/02/2013
SMAPSoil moisture measurement 30/01/2015
Sentinel-2ALand cover optical images 23/06/2015
CORALProvide the data and models necessary for coral reef analysis to predict their evolution 12/08/2015
Jason-3Sea level measurement 17/01/2016
Sentinel-3ARoutine operational services 16/02/2016
Sentinel-2BLand cover optical images 07/03/2017
Sentinel-5precursorAtmospheric composition monitoring 13/10/2017
Sentinel-3BRoutine operational services 25/02/2018
IceSat-2Observation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice 15/09/2018
CFOSATMeasurement of sea states (wind/wave) 29/10/2018
Name of the satellite Objective of the mission Planned launch year
Jason-CSSea level measurement 2020
Sentinel-6High-precision altimetry monitoring to determine the global height of the oceans 2020
Sentinel-4Atmospheric Composition Monitoring 2021
Sentinel-5Atmospheric Composition Monitoring 2021
SWOTHydrological and Oceanographic Observations 16/09/2021
PACEGlobal Ocean Colour Measurement 2022