New Sentinel Satellite Launch by the European Space Agency

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The European Space Agency is launching Sentinel-1, the first of five satellite missions in the Copernicus program.

Sentinel-1. Image Credit: ESA.

Sentinel-1. Image Credit: ESA.

The European Commission (EC) and partner European Space Agency (ESA) are gearing up for the launch of the first satellite in their Copernicus program.

Copernicus is an Earth observation program previously known as Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES). Its purpose is to facilitate ecological and civil stability by promoting environmental research, management and decision making through the collection of an extensive data set.

ESA already coordinates and disperses data from more than 30 satellites, and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) provides information from ground-based stations. Through the Copernicus program, ESA will extend its satellite coverage of Earth observations via five missions, known as the Sentinel missions.

The Sentinel satellites are remarkable for the advanced radar system they will carry, which is capable of collecting observations during day and night, as well as under cloudy conditions.åÊ The observations fall into six categories: land management, the marine environment, atmosphere, emergency response, security, and climate change.

Sentinel-1, fully loaded. Image Credit: ESA.

Sentinel-1, fully loaded. Image Credit: ESA.

Sentinel-1A will be a polar-orbiting satellite to provide radar imagery for land and ocean conditions. The data are intended for a variety of uses, from monitoring ‰ÛÒsuch as tracking sea ice or glacial retreat ‰ÛÒto offering information to allow for swift responses to emergency events such as earthquakes.

Sentinel-1 is scheduled to blast into space from French Guinea on a Soyuz rocket on April 3.

To read other Earthzine articles on Copernicus, ESA or GMES, see the links below:

‰Û¢ åÊCopernicus and Earth Observation’s Potential for the EU Environment

‰Û¢ European Talent Honored in 2012 GMES Masters Competition

‰Û¢ SWARM: ESA’s Magnetic Field Mission.