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A clear start for science

The German environmental satellite EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program) has been busy collecting data since its launch on 1 April 2022 and through to the end of the commissioning phase in late October 2022. From a distance of about 650 kilometres, it has recorded more than 11.4 million square kilometres of our Earth's surface with its 242 spectral channels - an area larger than Europe. But these data were not collected for the benefit of science. They were needed to set up the Hyperspectral Imager (HSI) instrument optimally for scientific operation and to check the quality of the data.

On 2 November 2022, the German environmental mission EnMAP completed its test phase and started routine operations. The mission is managed by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bonn on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Users can now access the constantly growing EnMAP data archive and submit observation requests. The data is available free of charge. The hyperspectral data offer new insights into a wide variety of application areas.

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EnMAP recordings in the commissioning phase

During commissioning, the various components of the EnMAP satellite as well as the HSI instrument had to undergo various tests. During this sensitive phase, the German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen (GSOC) was able to contribute to the successful commissioning process with its many years of experience and will continue to provide support for the operation and - if necessary - round the clock safety of the satellite in space. The EnMAP data are received by the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) and the Remote Sensing Technology Institute in Oberpfaffenhofen, which also calibrated all images during the commissioning phase, optimised them to the characteristics of the instrument in orbit and, together with the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), thus continuously improved the data quality. This is because the data that the satellite sends to Earth cannot be used directly by the user. Only when they are further processed, in other words calibrated, provided with positional data and corrected for atmospheric influences, can the users draw quantitative and qualitative conclusions from the products.

  • Towards more sustainable agriculture
  • Track­ing down 'tell-tale methane plumes' with En­MAP
  • In­sights in­to the ge­ol­o­gy of the world's largest ero­sion crater
  • Monitoring water quality in Lake Constance from space
  • Eisbedeckung
  • Kuwait
  • Kondensstreifen
  • Stark Reef Australien
  • Unbekannt

From now on, researchers from around the world can submit their requests to DLR. Archived data can be accessed immediately free of charge. A consortium led by the German Space Agency at DLR and GFZ will review the observation requests, which can come from the fields of climate change impact, land cover change and surface processes, biodiversity and ecosystem, access to water and water quality, natural resources and disaster management. EnMAP will also provide important data on request for the 'International Charter Space and Major Disasters' for rapid emergency support in the event of a disaster, thus supporting emergency services worldwide. The German Space Agency at DLR considers the long-term monitoring of environmental changes to be particularly important. Therefore, this set of topics will be given priority in the selection of future observations from the start of the routine phase of the mission.

With data from space, we can protect our planet. EnMAP will help us to make global land use sustainable, to highlight the consequences of climate change and to counteract the ongoing environmental degradation.
Dr Anna Christmann

Dr Anna Christmann

Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy
We are already looking forward to seeing the new and exciting insights science will gain from EnMAP data for the protection of our planet in the coming decades.
Dr Walther Pelzer

Dr Walther Pelzer

DLR Executive Board Member and Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR
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