Sentinel-1A, the first satellite for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, is being launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 3 April 2014. It will be lofted into orbit on a Soyuz rocket.
This animation shows some of the critical stages delivering Sentinel-1 into orbit around Earth. After separating from the Fregat upper stage, the satellite takes around 10 hours to deploy its 12 m-long radar and two 10m-long solar wings. This deployment sequence is unique, choreographed to ensure that both deploy in the safest possible way. This approach also allows power from the wings to be available as soon as possible so that the satellite is independent.
Delivering vital information for numerous operational services, from monitoring ice in the polar oceans to tracking land subsidence, Sentinel-1 will play a key role in the largest civil Earth-observation programme ever conceived.
The animation is set to a track called Sentinel by Mike Oldfield, a world-renowned musician and big space fan.