Sentinel-1B lifted off on a Soyuz rocket, flight VS14, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 25 April 2016 at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST). With the Sentinel-1 mission designed as a two-satellite constellation, Sentinel-1B will join its identical twin, Sentinel-1A, which was launched two years ago from Kourou. Both satellites carry an advanced radar that images Earth’s surface through cloud and rain regardless of whether it is day or night. By orbiting 180° apart, global coverage and data delivery are optimised for the environmental monitoring Copernicus programme. The mission provides radar imagery for a multitude of services and applications to improve everyday life and understand our changing planet.
Three CubeSats piggybacked a ride on Soyuz. These small satellites, each measuring just 10×10×11 cm, have been developed by university student teams through ESA’s Fly Your Satellite! effort. The other passenger is the Microscope satellite from France’s CNES space agency.