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N° 18–2015: Call for Media: New satellite for unprecedented Earth monitoring

8 June 2015

Sentinel-2A, the first optical imaging satellite in the EU’s Copernicus programme, is set for launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at 01:52 GMT 23 June (03:52 CEST 23 June; 22:52 local time 22 June) aboard a Vega rocket.

Copernicus is headed by the European Commission in partnership with ESA. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure land monitoring, emergency management and security.


The new fleet of Sentinel satellites will deliver a wealth of data and images that are central to the ambitious Copernicus programme.

The mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, launched separately and placed in the same orbit, separated by 180 . Every five days, the satellites will jointly cover all land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters between latitudes 56°S and 84°N, optimising global coverage and data delivery for numerous applications.

The mission carries an innovative high-resolution multispectral camera with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of land and vegetation. The combination of high resolution, novel spectral capabilities, a field of vision covering 290 km and frequent revisit times will provide unprecedented views of Earth.

Among its applications, the mission will provide information for agricultural practices, helping in the management of food security. It will also be used to map the status and changes in land cover and to monitor the world’s forests.

It will furthermore provide information on pollution in lakes and coastal waters. Images of floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides will contribute to disaster mapping and help humanitarian relief efforts.

Sentinel-2, like Sentinel-1, is equipped to benefit from another ESA programme, the European Data Relay System (EDRS). EDRS is creating a network of geostationary laser communication payloads for the continuous relay of low-orbit satellite data, and will enable the Sentinel’s Earth observation data to be transmitted faster than ever, using laser links.

By supplying ‘colour vision’ for Copernicus, Sentinel-2A is a perfect complement to the all-weather, day-and-night radar imagery provided by the first in the Sentinel fleet, Sentinel-1A, launched on 3 April 2014.


Sentinels are crucial investments to deliver a wide spectrum of operational data over a period of 20 years to benefit European citizens. In the year Sentinel-1A has been in service, more than 7000 users have registered to access some 145 000 different online data products, and over a million downloads – the equivalent of some 1.3 terabytes of data - have been recorded.


Sentinel-2A is the result of close collaboration between ESA, the European Commission, industry, service providers and data users. It is designed and built by a consortium of 60 companies led by Airbus Defence and Space.


Sentinel-2B, its twin satellite, is scheduled for launch in mid-2016.


Learn more about Sentinel at:


Learn more about Copernicus at:


Learn more about EDRS at:

Covering the launch

Media representatives are invited to follow the launch via satellite, online or attend the main launch event at ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

ESA TV will provide video coverage through a partnership with Arianespace. Several stories have also been prepared on the mission and its technology. More information at:

ESA's Portal will cover the launch live on, providing the videostream and updates on the launch.

The latest high-resolution images can be found at:
ESA’s Multimedia Gallery:

ESA’s Photo Library for Professionals:
Media image queries can be directed to

Social media
Follow Sentinel-2A via:

Twitter: @ESA, @ESA_EO, @esaoperations and the hashtag #Sentinel2

Blogs: and the blog dedicated to mission operations:


In addition, there will be updates on:



Media and VIP event

ESA’s Space Operations Centre (ESOC) will feature a programme including senior expert guests from science and industry as well as political decision-makers.

Doors will open at 02:30 CEST, stage programme 03:00–05:00 CEST. A concluding press briefing will begin about 05:30 CEST.

For more information and accreditation, please contact:
ESOC Corporate Communication Office
Tel: +49 6151 902516

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, have signed Accession Agreements to the ESA Convention and will soon become new ESA Member States.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office


Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99