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Europe lofts first Copernicus Environmental Satellite

Sentinel-1 unfolds04 April 2014: The ability of European citizens, policymakers and service providers to access key environmental data on a routine basis took a major step forward following the launch yesterday of ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite.

The 2.3 tonne satellite lifted off on a Soyuz rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST). The first stage separated 118 sec later, followed by the fairing (209 sec), stage 2 (287 sec) and the upper assembly (526 sec).

After a 617 sec burn, the Fregat upper stage delivered Sentinel into a Sun-synchronous orbit at 693 km altitude. The satellite separated from the upper stage 23 min 24 sec after liftoff.

"Sentinel-1A opens a new page in the implementation of Copernicus, the second EU flagship space initiative, after the Galileo positioning system," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA.

"The Copernicus programme will provide European citizens with the most ambitious space-based services in the world for environmental and security applications.

"The cooperation between the EU and ESA Member States in the funding of the space infrastructure, the combination of competences and expertise between the European Commission and ESA, and the capabilities of European industry, are putting Europe at the forefront of utilisation of space to benefit citizens, policymakers and the economy."
Sentinel-1 launch on a Soyuz
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The mission is the first of six families of dedicated missions that will make up the core of Europe's Copernicus environmental monitoring network. Copernicus will provide operational information on the world's land surfaces, oceans and atmosphere to support environmental and security policymaking and the needs of individual citizens and service providers.

Designed as a two-satellite constellation – Sentinel-1A and -1B – the C‑band radar mission will provide all-weather day-and-night imagery of land and ocean surfaces of Europe, Canada and the polar regions in near‑real time.

For more information: ESA