There’s news of a potential £128m cut by the British government to fund the Kopernikus program (formerly known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) ). This European Union earth observation initiative is funded by member states with a budget of €1bn. Kopernikus is a series of five earth observation satellites and a ground station. The first of five satellites, Sentinel 1, is scheduled for launch in 2011.
News accounts relate that it’s not a matter of political will, it’s just that British government agencies are having difficulty raising funds.
The Kopernikus program is widely praised by scientists around the globe for the role it can play in helping to determine the impacts of climate change. The urgency of the mission is compounded in the light of the fact that Envisat, the main global environmental monitoring satellite, was set to go offline last year. There’s a fear that without the new Kopernikus satellites, researchers will be left blind about critical environmental measurements.