ESA Launches Latest Sentinel Earth Observation Satellite

Posted: Mar 7 2017, 4:28am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

ESA Launches Latest Sentinel Earth Observation Satellite
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Europe's new Sentinel-2B satellite launched to capture Planet Earth

Recently,Sentinel-2B launched to capture earth and coastal water through infrared lights. The satellite will now accompany Sentinel-2A, a similar spacecraft in the orbit. Both will fly though similar path,however they will be 180 degree away from each other to get entire map of the earth.

Both Sentinels are a part of European Union's Copernicus environmental monitoring program. The program involves gathering data for information, and EU enforcement policies.

The project also includes different applications, like monitoring of urban planning and air quality to detect glacier retreat, and deforestation. The project is using both Sentinels 2A and 2B to get images that will help in several ways.

Space Scientists also consider Sentinels as heartbeats, because their images will be simple and easy to understand, explained Josef Aschbacher, the director of Earth observation at the European Space Agency (ESA) told BBC News.

The launch occurred at 22:49 local time, Monday (01:49 GMT, 02:49 CET, Tuesday). Satellites’ ejection occurred after an hour, 775 km over the Earth.

In Darmstadt, Germany the controllers were enthusiastic about starting the initial operations. Within next two weeks, the mission team will get the reference orbit located at 786 km altitude, said Bianca Hoersch, ESA's mission manager for the Sentinel-2 spacecraft. In June, the team will produce huge data and till October, it will be ready for complete constellation.

Sentinel-2 pair has cameras that can capture smallest details, like 10 m across. Both will collect four terabytes of data daily that will help in the laser relay. The spacecraft will stay in orbit for 10 minutes to capture earth and the sky above, to a geostationary satellite bouncing them to earth.

The images will be available online for thousands of users for downloading. Initially, there were 8GB to 9GB per file of Sentinel-1A’s data that was difficult to download, said Dr. Hoersch. But,later the team uploaded small images that were easy to download, like 100km by 100km. during last two months 2.7 million products were downloaded.

There will be more launches of Sentinels in future, including Sentinel 3, 4, 5, and 6, and they all will study different elements. Both EU and ESA are planning to extend the program.

The future will also have Sentinel 7, 8, and 9 missions, as they are under progress, and their cost and funding is also under consideration, explained Dr. Aschbacher.

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