Belgium's Supporting Activities for the PROBA-V Mission
Vandenabeele, Joost; Van Geloven, Peter; Verbeelen, Hendrik

PROBA-V could be summarized as a continuity mission to SPOT VGT, but with better performances. Continuity meaning similar spectral bands and revisiting characteristics, better signifying improved radiometric and geometric accuracies and ground resolution (1/3km).
Belgium has been one of the driving forces behind the PROBA-V mission. In addition to its financial support of the mission and operations via ESA's GSTP and Earthwatch programmes, it has set up a number of supporting activities of its own. To prepare the mission and to make sure that it meets the needs of the users, an international users committee (IUC) was set up under the aegis of the European Commission. The role of the IUC was to help define the PROBA-V products and mission, to prepare technical recommendations regarding data reception, processing, archiving and distribution and to propose orientations for follow-up missions. In addition the IUC supervised the PROBA-V Preparatory Programme which was launched to get future users acquainted with PROBA-V data and to investigate the possibilities offered by the technical improvements and in particular the enhanced spatial resolution.
The Preparatory Programme was open for scientist worldwide and 11 projects were granted. Using simulated PROBA-V datasets topics ranging from land cover and land cover change over extraction of biophysical parameters, evapotranspiration to data fusion and data compression were investigated.
While both the 1km and 1/3km products will be provided to the users via a single ESA-look-and-feel portal, the 1 km products will be processed, distributed and archived in the frame of ESA's Earthwatch programme, and the 1/3km products fall under the responsibility of a Belgian national programme For both types of products, the actual work will be done by and at VITO. The data policy for both types of products is in line with SPOT VGT's.
The participants to the ESA Earth Watch PROBA-V element are Belgium and Luxemburg.