France: The date has been set for the roll-out of the European Union‘s multi-billion-euro earth observation project. Copernicus will fly a constellation of satellites known as the Sentinels to take a continuous ‘health check’ on the planet and to acquire data that can help inform and enforce EU policies. Sentinel 1a will use radar to map the surface of the Earth.
Its information will find myriad uses, from monitoring European coastal waters for oil spills to investigating subsidence in cities. Its key role will be to provide rapid damage maps to enable emergency services and aid agencies to respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes and severe flooding events. Sentinel 1a is undergoing final testing at prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, at its facility in Cannes, France.