The generic processing chain CATENA is an operational system for the fully automatic processing of satellite imagery. Via import of the original satellite data a separate chain for each type of image can be automatically traversed. The standard chain generates orthorectified pictures from the original satellite images using a worldwide reference image database. For this task ground control points are automatically extracted from the satellite image and the reference images. Using these points the attitude and ephemeris data of the satellite can be corrected and the original image orthorectified using a worldwide high-resolution digital elevation model. Afterwards, automatic atmospheric correction of the image is performed. This generic processing chain has already been implemented for numerous optical sensors. Subsequently, thematic processors for land cover extraction or change detection can follow the standard chain. Also, some input data can trigger completely different chains. For example, the stereo imagery delivered by the Indian satellite Cartosat can be programmed to select a chain which automatically generates a digital elevation model from those stereo images.