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
End of mission date
Seasat Obtaining oceanographic data and determining the characteristics of the ocean system 27/06/1978 10/10/1978
Geosat Marine geoid measurement 10/03/1985 31/01/1990
Spot-1 Earth Observation 22/02/1986 2001
MOS-1 Ocean Observation 19/02/1987 17/04/1996
Spot-2 Earth Observation 22/01/1990 30/06/2009
ERS-1 Earth System Description 17/07/1991 31/03/2000
Topex-Poséidon Ocean surface measurement 10/08/1992 18/01/2006
Spot-3 Earth Observation 26/09/1993 14/11/1996
ERS-2 Earth System Description 21/04/1995 06/07/2011
RadarSAT-1 Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation 04/11/1995 29/03/2013
ADEOS-1 Measurement of surface winds and their direction 17/08/1996 30/06/1997
SeaWIFS Ocean Color Observation 1997 2010
GFO Ocean Topography Measurement 10/02/1998 26/11/2008
QuikSCAT Measurement of surface winds and their direction 19/07/1999 23/11/2009
Jason-1 Ocean Surface Measurement 07/12/2001 01/07/2013
Envisat Observation of both the atmosphere and the Earth's surface 01/03/2002 08/06/2012
IceSAT Observation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice caps 13/01/2003 14/08/2010
Aquarius Earth System Study and Ocean Salinity Measurement 10/06/2011 08/06/2015
Spot-4 Earth Observation 24/03/1998 29/06/2013
Spot-5 Earth Observation 04/05/2002 2015
Sentinel-1 Radar image of ocean and land cover 03/04/2014 25/04/2016
TRMM Rainfall amounts measurement in tropical and subtropical areas. 27/11/1997 15/04/2015
Jason-2 Ocean Surface Measurement 20/06/2008 10/10/2019
Name of the satellite Objective of the mission Launch date
Spot-4 Earth Observation 24/03/1998
Spot-5 Earth Observation 04/05/2002
Aqua Earth and water cycle observation 04/05/2002
Meteosat-8 Ocean surface observation and temperature measurement 28/08/2002
Meteosat-9 Observation of the ocean surface and temperature measurement 21/12/2005
MetOp-A Ocean Observation 19/10/2006
RadarSAT-2 Natural Resources Monitoring and Global Change Observation 14/12/2007
Jason-2 Ocean surface measurement 20/06/2008
OceanSAT-2 Surface winds study and chlorophyll and phytoplankton bloom observation 23/09/2009
SMOS Salinity and humidity level measurement 02/11/2009
Cryosat-2 Polar observations 08/04/2010
HY-2 Oceans dynamic observation 15/08/2011
MEGHA-TROPIQUES Atmospheric study in intertropical areas 12/10/2011
Suomi-NPP Provide meteorological data 28/10/2011
Pléiades-1A Earth observation and very high resolution image acquisition 17/12/2011
Pléiades-1B Earth Observation and Very High Resolution Image Acquisition 01/12/2012
Saral Ocean Observation 25/02/2013
SMAP Soil moisture measurement 30/01/2015
Sentinel-2A Land cover optical images 23/06/2015
CORAL Provide the data and models necessary for coral reef analysis to predict their evolution 12/08/2015
Jason-3 Sea level measurement 17/01/2016
Sentinel-3A Routine operational services 16/02/2016
Sentinel-2B Land cover optical images 07/03/2017
Sentinel-5precursor Atmospheric composition monitoring 13/10/2017
Sentinel-3B Routine operational services 25/02/2018
IceSat-2 Observation of the Earth's reference system for measuring ice 15/09/2018
CFOSAT Measurement of sea states (wind/wave) 29/10/2018
Sentinel-6 M.Freilich Sea level measurement 21/11/2020
Name of the satellite Objective of the mission Planned launch year
Sentinel-4 Atmospheric Composition Monitoring 2021
Sentinel-5 Atmospheric Composition Monitoring 2021
SWOT Hydrological and Oceanographic Observations november 2022
PACE Global Ocean Colour Measurement 2022
CRISTAL Sea ice thickness and land ice elevation measurements 2027