Europe day: no atmospheric space activity without European collaboration

NH3 – Ammonia observations by IASI, for 6-9 April, 2015. Major emissions are observed in Bretagne, England, Spain and in the Pô valley. © Martin Van Damme (Free University of Bruxelles) (Source:

67 years ago, a 9th of May, through his historical speech, the French foreign minister Robert Schuman developed his vision of a European institution pooling and managing coal and steel production. His dream was to structure European nations around common goals to stop wars between the nations. Following this idea, a treaty was signed a year latter. This is considered as the beginning of our EU.

European space institutions (ESA, EUMETSAT) were born years later. Without collaborations between all the European countries, without the support of ESA & EUMETSAT (funding, management political etc..), we would not benefit from major space missions and their high-value data set on our atmosphere.

IASI (InfraRed Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) is a relevant example: develloped by CNES (French space agency) and EUMETSAT, flying on the European MetOp series of weather satellites (A, B and C), acquiring temperature, humidity and 25 other atmospheric components, supporting worldwide Earth’s climate and air quality scientists.

Developed by CNES in partnership with Eumetsat, the IASI instrument (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) is flying on the European MetOp series of weather satellites. Besides acquiring temperature and humidity data, IASI also measures more than 25 other atmospheric components with high precision and is supporting the efforts of scientists monitoring Earth’s climate.

This successfully started with the European nations and their collaborations. This will only successfully continue with Europe. Happy Europe day!

More information?

  • Robert Schuman’s speech on 1950.05.09 here
  • The IASI space mission here
  • Recent NH3 – Ammonia hotspots detected in the world here
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) here
  • EUMETSAT here


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