France: At the Kourou Spaceport in French Guiana, pre-launch preparations are in full swing for the Sentinel-1B satellite. The satellite is carrying an Airbus Defence and Space built radar instrument. The contract for the launch has been given to Thales Alenia Space of Italy. The launch process will be done by a Soyuz launcher on the 22 April 2016.
If launched successfully, the satellite will join the Sentinel-1A and complete the polar orbiting constellation, which will significantly improve revisit and response times to provide continuous all-weather round the clock imagery for marine, land monitoring and emergency services. Working together, the Sentinel-1 satellites will image the entire planet every six days.
As an advanced radar mission, Sentinel-1 can image the Earth’s surface through cloud and rain and regardless of whether it is day or night. This makes it an ideal mission, for example, for monitoring the polar regions, which are in darkness during the winter months and tropical forests, which are typically shrouded by cloud.
Over oceans and seas, the mission provides imagery to generate timely maps of sea-ice conditions for safe passage, to detect and track oil spills and to provide information on wind, waves and currents. Over land, Sentinel-1’s systematic observations are used to track changes in the way the land is used and to monitor ground movement with exceptional accuracy. Moreover, this new mission is designed specifically to aid fast response during emergencies and disasters such as flooding and earthquakes.