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 satelliteObjective of the missionLaunch date
End of mission date
SeasatObtaining oceanographic data and determining the characteristics of the ocean system27/06/197810/10/1978
GeosatMarine geoid measurement10/03/198531/01/1990
Spot-1Earth Observation22/02/19862001
MOS-1Ocean Observation19/02/198717/04/1996
Spot-2Earth Observation22/01/199030/06/2009
ERS-1Earth System Description17/07/199131/03/2000
Topex-PoséidonOcean surface measurement10/08/199218/01/2006
Spot-3Earth Observation26/09/199314/11/1996
ERS-2Earth System Description21/04/199506/07/2011
RadarSAT-1Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation04/11/199529/03/2013
ADEOS-1Measurement of surface winds and their direction17/08/199630/06/1997
SeaWIFSOcean Color Observation19972010
GFOOcean Topography Measurement10/02/199826/11/2008
QuikSCATMeasurement of surface winds and their direction19/07/199923/11/2009
Jason-1Ocean Surface Measurement07/12/200101/07/2013
EnvisatObservation of both the atmosphere and the Earth's surface01/03/200208/06/2012
IceSATObservation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice caps13/01/200314/08/2010
AquariusEarth System Study and Ocean Salinity Measurement10/06/201108/06/2015
Spot-4Earth Observation24/03/199829/06/2013
Spot-5Earth Observation04/05/20022015
Sentinel-1Radar image of ocean and land cover03/04/201425/04/2016
TRMMRainfall amounts measurement in tropical and subtropical areas.27/11/199715/04/2015
Jason-2Ocean Surface Measurement20/06/200810/10/2019
Name of the satelliteObjective of the missionLaunch date
Spot-4Earth Observation24/03/1998
Spot-5Earth Observation04/05/2002
AquaEarth and water cycle observation04/05/2002
Meteosat-8Ocean surface observation and temperature measurement28/08/2002
Meteosat-9Observation of the ocean surface and temperature measurement21/12/2005
MetOp-AOcean Observation19/10/2006
RadarSAT-2Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation14/12/2007
Jason-2Ocean surface measurement20/06/2008
OceanSAT-2Surface winds study and chlorophyll and phytoplankton bloom observation23/09/2009
SMOSSalinity and humidity level measurement02/11/2009
Cryosat-2Polar observations08/04/2010
HY-2Oceans dynamic observation15/08/2011
MEGHA-TROPIQUESAtmospheric study in intertropical areas12/10/2011
Suomi-NPPProvide meteorological data28/10/2011
Pléiades-1AEarth observation and very high resolution image acquisition17/12/2011
Pléiades-1BEarth Observation and Very High Resolution Image Acquisition01/12/2012
SaralOcean Observation25/02/2013
SMAPSoil moisture measurement30/01/2015
Sentinel-2ALand cover optical images23/06/2015
CORALProvide the data and models necessary for coral reef analysis to predict their evolution12/08/2015
Jason-3Sea level measurement17/01/2016
Sentinel-3ARoutine operational services16/02/2016
Sentinel-2BLand cover optical images07/03/2017
Sentinel-5precursorAtmospheric composition monitoring13/10/2017
Sentinel-3BRoutine operational services25/02/2018
IceSat-2Observation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice15/09/2018
CFOSATMeasurement of sea states (wind/wave)29/10/2018
Sentinel-6 M.FreilichSea level measurement21/11/2020
Name of the satelliteObjective of the missionPlanned launch year
Sentinel-4Atmospheric Composition Monitoring2021
Sentinel-5Atmospheric Composition Monitoring2021
SWOTHydrological and Oceanographic Observations16/09/2021
PACEGlobal Ocean Colour Measurement2022
CRISTALSea ice thickness and land ice elevation measurements2027