ESA is developing a new family of satellites, called Sentinels, specifically for the operational needs of the Copernicus programme.
Copernicus is headed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency. It provides a unified system through which vast amounts of data are fed into a range of thematic information services designed to benefit the environment, the way we live, humanitarian needs and to support effective policy-making for a more sustainable future. These services fall into six main categories: land management, the marine environment, atmosphere, emergency response, security and climate change.
The Sentinels will provide a unique set of observations, which started with the all-weather, day and night radar images from Sentinel-1A, launched in April 2014. Sentinel-2A will mainly deliver high-resolution optical images.