Bild aus der ISS symbolisch für die Schlüsseltechnologie Raumfahrt; Quelle: ESA/NASA


Yesterday evening, the German environmental satellite EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program) was successfully launched into space from Cape Canaveral in the US. The satellite was developed and built in Germany and was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

"EnMAP combines technological excellence with environmental protection and sustainability." said Dr Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator for Aerospace at the BMWK, who was personally present at the launch. "This research mission for environmental and climate protection 'made in Germany' supports sustainable land use, helps us to understand climate change and enables us to detect and counteract environmental degradation at an early stage. EnMAP will discover subtleties that have previously been unseen to us. This will allow us to detect changes in our environment in time and to act proactively."

The EnMAP satellite orbits the Earth in a low orbit. In the process, it simultaneously takes pictures of the Earth's surface in more than 250 sub-ranges of visible and infrared light. Every four days, it creates a comprehensive image of the entire Earth's surface. Local changes and changes over time can be tracked this way. The satellite data provide precise information on the condition and changes of the Earth's surface. We then can monitor the health of plants and water bodies, for example.

EnMAP has been launched into space on board a Falcon 9 rocket from the space company SpaceX. It is operated by the German Aerospace Centre e.V. (DLR). As early as 15 minutes after launch, EnMAP was released into low Earth orbit from the launch vehicle. Here it will then be put into operation and thoroughly tested. After completing a six-month test campaign, it will start collecting scientific data from the Earth's surface.

The EnMAP environmental mission is managed on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action by the German Space Agency at the DLR in Bonn. OHB System AG was commissioned with the development and construction of the satellite and the hyperspectral instrument. The ground segment was built by three institutes and facilities of the DLR, which is also responsible for satellite operation. GeoForschungszentrum Potsdam (GFZ) takes care of the scientific management of the mission.