Cameras mounted on the Soyuz Fregat upper stage that sent Sentinel-1A into space on 3 April 2014 captured this superb footage. It shows liftoff, the various stages in the rocket’s ascent and the Sentinel-1A satellite being released from the Fregat upper stage to start its life in orbit around Earth.
The 2.3 tonne satellite lifted off on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST). The first stage separated 118 sec later, followed by the fairing (209 sec), stage 2 (287 sec) and the upper assembly (526 sec). After a 617 sec burn, the Fregat upper stage delivered Sentinel into a Sun-synchronous orbit at 693 km altitude. The satellite separated from the upper stage 23 min 24 sec after liftoff.
Sentinel-1 is the first in the family of satellites for Europe’s Copernicus programme. It carries an advanced radar to scan Earth’s surface in all weather conditions and regardless of whether it is day or night. This new mission will be used to care for many aspects of our environment, from detecting and tracking oil spills and mapping sea ice to monitoring movement in land surfaces and mapping changes in the way land is used.