The mission of the Scientific Committee is to write Calls for Ideas, to assess the scientific interest and relevance of the responses, to suggest to the Van Allen Foundation to co-fund this research, and to propose to the University Space Center of Montpellier launch a mission project on the subject.

Created in 2020, it is made up of four renowned scientists, Ms. Pascale Ultré-Guérard, Mr. Bertrand Chapron, Mr. Jérôme Benveniste, and Mr. Adriano Camps, and led by Mr. Jean-Louis Fellous.

📡 The first mission

The first mission entrusted to the Scientific Committee will concern the Mediterranean, and in particular the detection of plastic waste present in its waters. The objective of identifying if possible by the end of April 2020, a relevant and feasible solution, within the framework of a nanosatellite mission.

With the support of :

Open the call for ideas
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Scientific Committee Secretary



Pascale Ultré-Guérard is Associate Professor of Physics and a doctorate from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP). After a post-doc, she joined the CNES in 1999 as an engineer responsible for internal geophysics and geodesy programs within the Earth Observation structure of the Programs Department. In January 2006, Pascale Ultré-Guérard became Head of the Earth Observation Program in the Strategy and Programs Department of CNES. In April 2017, she took on the role of Deputy Director of the International and Quality Programming Department at CNES. Since September 2020, she has held the position of Head of the Space and Defense Policy Department and Space Advisor to the Director General of Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. She followed the training courses of CHEAr (Center des Hautes Etudes pour l’Aréma, 2005-2006) and of IHEST (Institute of Higher Studies for Science and Technology, 2012-2013) and CHEE (Center of Hautes Etudes Europeans). In 2010, she received the insignia of knight of the National Order of Merit and in 2014 the insignia of knight of the Legion of Honor.

Senior scientist, first class research director, at Ifremer, Bertrand Chapron has multi-year experienceon the combined use of space-borne ocean remote sensing active and passive measurements. Bertrand Chapron led the Ifremer Laboratoire of Océanographie Spatiale (2004-2016), co-led (2011-2015 with P. Klein) ‘The ocean engine at very high resolution’ of the excellence initiative LABEX-Mer, helped create (with V. Kudryavtsev) the Satellite Ocean Laboratory (SOLab) at the StPetersburg Russian State HydroMeteorological University, and received an ERC Synergy grant(Stochastic Transport in Upper Ocean Dynamics, STUOD 2020-2026, with E. Mémin, D. Crisan and D. Holm). Based on theoretical (sensor physics, ocean physical parameters), numerical simulations, statistical and signal processing approaches, Bertrand Chapron and collaborators pioneered a consistent methodology approach to help enhance the interpretation and combined use of multi- modal Earth Observation (EO) remote sensing data. Over the years, this approach has been applied to develop improved algorithms for different satellite sensor measurements (especiallySynthetic Aperture Radar instruments (SAR), e.g. Chapron et al. 2001), also to explore hidden capabilities, e.g. leading to the original breakthrough on the extraction of direct surface velocities from Space, Chapron et al., 2005, and/or the combination of measurements, e.g., to monitor extremeevents, Reul et al., 2017. Currently, he is also co- and/or principal investigator in several European Space Agency projects (Digital Twin Ocean precursor, Marine-Atmosphere eXtremes Sensor Synergy). He is member of the NASA and CNES science and definition team for the future SWOT high-resolution ocean topography mission (launch 2022), and CFOSAT ocean wave and wind measurements (launch Oct. 2018). Over the last years, Chapron and collaborators further works on the definition of future space-borne instruments, more directly dedicated to estimate ocean surface currents and/or upper ocean deformation field (surface current gradients): the ESA Earth Explorer 9 Doppler off-nadir altimeter SKIM (Ardhuin et al., 2018), the ESA Earth Explorer 10 bi-static SAR measurements HARMONY (Dekker-Lopez et al., 2018), multi-azimuth optical sensor GLISTERO-SARONG and multi-azimuth multi-polarized radar sensor (SEASTAR, Gommenginger and Chapron, 2018).


Adriano Camps was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1969. In 1993 he joined the Electromagnetics and Photonics Engineering Group, Department of Signal Theory and Communications, UPC, as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in 1997, and Full Professor since 2007. At present he is the Scientific Coordinator of the CommSensLab-UPC María de Maeztu Excellence Research Unit, and director-founder of the UPC NanoSat-lab ( In 1999, he was on sabbatical leave at the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory, of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research interests are focused in microwave remote sensing, with special emphasis in microwave radiometry by aperture synthesis techniques (MIRAS instrument onboard ESA’s SMOS mission), remote sensing using signals of opportunity (GNSS-R), detection and mitigation of RFI, and nanosatellites as a tool to test innovative remote sensors. He has published over 212 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 7 book chapters and the book Emery and Camps, “Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing. Atmosphere, Ocean, Land and Cryosphere Applications,” Elsevier, 2017, 860 pages), more than 453 conference presentations, holds 12 patents, and has advised 25 Ph. D. Thesis students (+ 10 on-going), and more than 140 final project and M.Eng. Theses. According to Google Scholar/Scopus his h-index is 51 / 39, and his publications have received more than 10657/7139 citations. He has received numerous awards including the European Young Investigator Award in 2004, two ICREA Academia Awards, two Duran-Farell awards for technology transfer, and the 2017 ESA Sentinel Small Satellite Challenge and overall winner of the Copernicus Masters competition for the FSSCat mission project, which is composed of two 6U Cubesats: 3Cat-5/A carrying onboard the FMPL-2, a dual GNSS-R and L-band microwave radiometer, and 3Cat-5/B carrying onboard HyperScout-2, a VNIR/TIR hyperspectral imager enhanced with the PhiSat-1 board, implementing AI techniques to discard images covered by clouds. FSSCat was successfully launched on September 3rd 2020, and it will be the first CubeSat mission contributing to the Copernicus system. He and his Ph D students were key personnel on the writing of the Strategic Plan on New Space for the Catalan government.


Jérôme Benveniste received his PhD in Oceanography from Space from the University of Toulouse, France, in 1989. After a Post-Doc in space data assimilation in ocean models at MIT, Boston, USA, he moved to the European Space Agency. He has been at the ESA Earth Observation data centre near Rome, Italy, since 1992, where he is in charge of the ERS-1, ERS-2, ENVISAT, CryoSat,  Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 radar altimetry data exploitation. He interacts with ESA Principal Investigators, organises scientific symposia, and regularly launches Research and Development projects, including GOCE data exploitation. He was recognised as senior advisor at ESA in 2008. He is co-Editor of a Springer book on Coastal Zone Radar Altimetry, published in 2011 and on Inland Water Altimetry, to be published in 2021. He is Editor of a peer-reviewed Scientific Journal and Guest-Editor of five Journal Special Issues. Jérôme Benveniste launched and monitors the Climate Change Initiative Sea Level Project (2009-) and its current sequel focused on the Coastal Zone, as well as other projects on Sea Level Budget Closure, Runoff, River Discharge, Ocean Heat Content, Easter Boundary Upwelling Systems, Coastal oceanography and Coastal Hazards.