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ESA to build two more Sentinel satellites

Rome: The European Space Agency signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space to build two C-band radar satellites, Sentinel-1C and Sentinel-1D. These satellites will be part of the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth observation system.

The contract, valued at 402 million euros ($441 million), will help guarantee the promised data continuity of the multibillion-euro Copernicus effort, which includes 15 satellites performing a range of Earth observation missions.

The Sentinel-1A satellite was launched in 2014 and the identical Sentinel-1B is scheduled for launch in April aboard a Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket. Each is designed to operate for at least seven years in polar low Earth orbit, with sufficient fuel to last for 12 years.

The Sentinel-1C and -1D satellites placed will be launched starting in 2021 and are nearly identical to the previous pair, with some new elements.

Both will carry Automatic Identification System terminals to enable European coastal authorities to monitor sea traffic when ships are beyond the reach of terrestrial radars. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will be using the terminals but it remains unclear whether the European Commission will finance a data delivery service.

The two new satellites also have upgraded navigation terminals to use both the U.S. GPS and European Galileo satellite systems.

Source: Tech Spy