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FMI / Earth Observation Website

This website hosts research-related information about space-research related activities at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki.

This page is only maintained in English

For general information about related subjects also in Finnish and Swedish, please see the institute's homepage at


På Svenska:

A summary of all former and currently planned FMI Space Projects is shown here.

ESA's comet chaser Rosetta made first contact with Earth on January 20, 2014 at 20:16 Finnish time

Artistic illustration of ESTCube-1
ESA comet chaser Rosetta with comet, artist's impression. Source: ESA

On 20 January 2014 at 20:16 Finnish time the Rosetta spacecraft made successfully contact with the ESA control center in Darmstadt. At 12:00 Finnish time ESA's comet chaser Rosetta had left its more than 2.5 years hibernation close to Jupiter's orbit. The first contact with the satellite was expected on Earth between 19:30 and 20:30 Finnish time. After 45 minutes of high tension waiting the carrier signal of the spacecraft was received in the control center. The first detailed status report from the Lander Philae arrived in the morning hours of January 21 indicating that at least the system functions are nominal as expected. During the next days and months the spacecraft and all its functions will be thoroughly tested before Rosetta catches up with the comet and starts its detailed science operation.

For status updates about the satellite's commissioning status see the dedicated Rosetta webpage on this server.


On 4 April at 00:02 Finnish Local time the EU environment monitoring satellite Sentinel-1 as first space element of the Copernicus program was successfully launched by ESA from Kourou. Sentinel-1A is the first of a two-satellite mission that will image land and oceans using highly precise radar, enabling the pair to acquire imagery regardless of weather. FMI will participate in the utilization of its data. Follow the launch by web streaming.

On 11 November 2013 around 02:00 Finnish time the ESA's GOCE satellite (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) re-entered the Earth atmosphere, broke up and burnt to about 75%. The reminder of the 1100 kg satellite entered the South-Atlantic South of the Falkland island. No damages were reported. For details see the ESA webpage.


On 7 May 2013 (6.5. 23:06 local time) the Estonian Student Satellite Program satellite ESTCube-1 was launched successfully aboard a Vega carrier rocket from Kourou. The satellite is now in its planned orbit. This morning the Tartu ground station was able to receive the satellite's beacon signal. On board the satellite is an electric solar wind sail (e-sail) which was invented by FMI's scientist Pekka Janhunen. During an ESTCube-1 flight, 10 meters of 20–50 micrometer thick e-sail wire, sometimes referred to as "Heytether," is deployed from the satellite. The deployment of the Heytether is detected by a decrease of the satellite's rotation speed or an on-board camera.


On February 27 the first data from the Mars rover Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity were released to the public via the Planetary Data System, covering the first 89 sols of operation. Among the data are the REMS pressure data collected by the FMI-provided pressure sensors. Details to the mission, the instruments and the data themselves can be accessed via the Further processed data are planned for release on March 20.

NASA's current major mission to Mars, the , now named "Curiosity", landed successfully on Mars August 6 at 08:31 Finnish time. FMI is contributing the pressure and humidity sensor to the environment package REMS. For details see FMI's MSL web pagepressure sensor data were published by NASA August 23.


Eight years ago, on landed successfully on the surface of the Saturn moon Titan. This was the first time that a man-made probe landed on a solar system body beyond the inner planets. On board was the FMI-built Pressure Profile Instrument (PPI) as part of the, monitoring the Titan atmosphere during the probe's descent towards the moon's surface.

As a consequence of this successful mission, the Finnish pressure sensor was invited to be part of the subsequent Mars missions , - Mars Science Laboratory, ESA's ExoMars EDM isntrument package - DREAMS (internal)Dust Characterisation, Risk assessment and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface (ExoMars/DREAMS), and NASA's missions, the latter two scheduled for launch in 2016.


The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP)