The recent developments of airborne imaging spectrometers, currently mostly designated hyperspectral imagers, in the spectral regime from 400-2400 nm revealed and proved an enormous application potential for remote sensing of vegetation in particular. Current spaceborne instrument developments and soon mission will expand these applications to regional and global scale surveys and monitoring. Hyperspectral imagers covering the a.m. spectral range promise to represent the ideal future remote sensing tool for vegetation type and status monitoring. The paper starts with a compilation of relevant applications - with emphasis on vegetation and soils - and their particular spectral and radiometric requirements which has been established by the main author recently as part of a Dornier Satellitensysteme (DSS) in-house activity, including a survey of existing and planned instruments of this type. To the possible extent, airborne measurement data from existing instruments will be included to underline the application potential. The second part will provide an insight into current development activities at DSS, mainly as results of ESA contracts, covering instruments such as ROSIS, HRIS demo model and current PRISM studies. The two latter instruments are ideally suited for vegetation monitoring in terms of pixel size, spectral resolution and range from 450-2350 nm, and radiometric performance. An outlook will conclude the paper for future developments and planning for operational hyperspectral missions.