Hello Smos blog readers!
As you might be aware SMOS has been in flight for a good many years now. It was designed for a 5 year life span (3 years “guaranteed”) and launched in 2009. Once the life expectancy is reached the space agencies have to decide whether they keep the satellite in operation or de activate and de orbit it. SMOS is no exception and regularly we undergo a review to see whether the satellite is fit and useful enough to be kept in operation. SMOS only has a little specificity as it undergoes 2 review as two space agencies (ESA and CNES) share the operations so .. we undergo two reviews.
In 2021 we thus had the two reviews. The CNES process is called REDEM (REvue d’Extension de Mission) and was carried out on September 30th and was very positive. The final and official outcome was made available on February 3rd 2022 with a green light for a mission extension until 2025.
A roughly the same moment at ESA a similar process was taking place. on this occasion we asked some of you for a letter of support and got a very positive return as the letter was signed by over 200 scientists from all over the world. The ESA ACEO carried out the review and gave a very positive evaluation. From these elements ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Obseration (PB-EO) met this week and there was a ‘collective full support’ (words used by PB-EO chair) for the SMOS mission extension for the period 2023-2025 by ESA’s member states. So we are on track for a few more years pending sufficient subscriptions for ESA’s FutureEO Segment 2 to implement this full PB-EO support….