The latest news is that the new European Union has sent a second radar Sentinel satellite into orbit by a Soyuz rocket.
Sentinel-1b went off into space via a piggyback ride atop the Soyuz spacecraft. The venue of launch was French Guiana. Ship routes will be observed through this satellite in a bid to end pollution and iceberg destruction.
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Also the lay of the land will be surveyed for further data that will be forthcoming. The Sentinel-1b will work in synch with the 1a spacecraft that was launched way back in 2014.
The two spacecrafts will be in the same orbital lanes yet they will be 180 degrees apart. They will map what goes on around our planet on a six day basis.
“The launch of Sentinel-1B marks another important milestone as this is the first constellation we have realised for Copernicus,” said ESA’s Director General Jan Woerner.
“Orbiting 180° apart, the two satellites optimise coverage and data delivery for services that are making a step change in the way our environment is managed.”
This will lead to a surplus of data. It amounts to five terabits per day. Also both satellites have laser lights on board and so data will be relayed to the earth in the quickest way possible.
[Sentinel-1, the first in the family of Copernicus satellites, will be used to monitor 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. It will also play a crucial role in providing timely information to help respond to natural disasters and assist humanitarian relief efforts. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab]
The Sentinel satellites come under the rubric of the European Union. The EU has spent billions of euros for the upkeep and maintenance of the project.
The overall mother project is titled Copernicus, according to BBC. The air quality, crop health, water management and infrastructure will all be monitored.
The European Space Agency is providing the Sentinel satellites for the EU. Currently, there are 36,000 registered users for the data forthcoming from the satellites.
Many of them have already uploaded some four million odd pics. The 2.1 ton Sentinel satellite was ejected into its orbit approximately 23 minutes into the ascent.
It will take two to three weeks for the satellite to settle into its grooves in the orbital path it is supposed to follow. There are four more satellites that have been set into motion by availing the services of the Soyuz spacecraft.
Three of them are university cubesats. The fourth is a French space agency creation called Microscope. This fourth one will observe the equivalence principle while in space.
The equivalence principle is the postulate of the general theory of relativity that gravity speeds up all objects whatever their mass of composition. The astronaut Dave Scott demonstrated this principle when he dropped a hammer and a feather during the 1971 Apollo 15 mission.
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They both landed at the same time in conditions of zero gravity. The satellite known as Microscope will be performing even more experiments of the same kind when it enters into orbital velocity.