Sentinel 1 lifts off
4 April 2014
Last night, Sentinel 1 lifted off on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The 2.3 tonne satellite was launched into a Sun-synchronous orbit at 693 km altitude. This type of orbit will allow Sentinel to pass over the same part of the Earth at roughly the same time each day.
The mission is the first of five Sentinel families that will make up the core of Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network. Copernicus will provide information on the world’s land, oceans and atmosphere. This information will help policy makers take informed decisions regarding the environment and security.
Designed as a two-satellite constellation (Sentinel 1A and Sentinel 1B) this radar mission will provide all-weather and day and night imagery of land and ocean surfaces of Europe, Canada and the polar regions in near-real time.
The mission is expected to begin operations within three months, after its ‘commissioning’ phase (when all instruments are checked and calibrated) is over. Data from the Sentinel satellites will be made available to the public for free.