France: European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace – a commercial space transportation company have signed a contract for the launch of Sentinel-1A satellite. Sentinel-1A will be the first Earth observation satellite for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.
Sentinel-1A is scheduled for launch in December 2012. Weighing about 2300 kg at launch, it will be placed at an altitude of about 690 km. The satellite is a radar mission that will provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery for GMES ocean and land-monitoring services, including mapping forests, ground movement, sea ice and oil spills.
It will be invaluable for providing information for aid workers managing relief efforts in crisis situations. The mission will also ensure the continuity of radar data from ESA’s ERS and Envisat satellites.
Sentinel-1A is being built by an industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, Italy.