ESA's first Earth observation mission dedicated to understanding our planet, the European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS-1), was launched into orbit on 17 July 1991. At the time, it was the most sophisticated Earth observation spacecraft developed and launched by Europe.

Thirty years ago, as the team went through the and early-orbit phase, the first synthetic aperture radar images were awaited in Kiruna and Fucino. Featuring taken in 1991, the team involved tells the story of the anxious moments and important breakthroughs they made as the first images arrived.

Credit: European Space Agency