The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor for the new Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission.
LSTM is part of Copernicus, the European Union's Earth observation programme for global monitoring. It is one of the six new missions, expanding the capabilities of the current Copernicus space component. The contract is valued at € 380 million which includes the development of one LSTM satellite, with an option for two further satellites.
The main objective of LSTM is to deliver global high spatio-temporal day- and night-time land surface temperature measurements. Satellite data analysis for mapping, monitoring and forecasting the Earth's natural resources helps to understand what, when and where changes are taking place. In particular, this mission will respond to the needs of European farmers to make agricultural production on individual farms more sustainable, as water shortages increase and changes in the environment take place. Specialists will be able to calculate in real time how much water different plants require in different areas, and how often those plants need to be irrigated.
Land-surface temperature measurements and derived evapotranspiration - the water vapour emitted by plants as they grow - are key parameters to understand and respond to climate variations, manage water resources for agriculture, and predict droughts. Thermal infrared observations will support a range of additional services to address land degradation, soil composition, natural hazards such as fires and volcano activity, coastal and inland water management as well as urban heat island issues.
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