Nebula Public Library

The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes


Programme Reference
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Due to the harsh nature of outer space, stringent requirements and performances are required from space systems. Thanks to evolving environmental awareness and the building up of a knowledge base at ESA, we are becoming more wary of the environmental impact of space activities on Earth. Through the GreenSat project, ESA wants to evolve from the assessment to reduction of environmental impact through redesigning an existing satellite mission. The project allows ESA to check the feasibility of implementing ecodesign in the development of space missions. The main objectives for doing a life cycle assessment (LCA) in GreenSat are:

  • To identify environmental hotspots of the mission, which is an important starting point to look for ecodesign options

  • To quantify the environmental impact of the mission, to understand the impacts and the sources, which is a baseline to benchmark the environmental impact of the ecodesigned GreenSat mission and which allows to assess the environmental impact reduction

Proba (PRoject for On-Board Autonomy) is a family of small satellites developed for ESA by QinetiQ Space. Proba-Vegetation (Proba-V), an Earth observation mission, was selected as a continuation of the Vegetation programme. The main payload of the PROBA-V satellite is the Vegetation Instrument. The Proba-V ground segment is composed of the mission control centre at ESA's ground station in Redu, monitoring and controlling the satellite bus and payloads. Additional ground stations such as Kiruna, Inuvik, and Fairbanks, are used for additional data downlink or critical operations. The user segment is operated by VITO, where the VGT-P data is processed, the final products (from raw to level-3) are generated and archived, and payload calibration is performed. The satellite was launched in May 2013 as a secondary payload on a Vega launch vehicle and is fully operational since then.

An LCA was performed for the Proba-V mission, to identify the environmental hotspots of the mission.

Executive summary