France: Media and specialists were given a chance to see Sentinel-3A satellite before its launch in Russia in December this year. Sentinel-3A will play a key role in world’s largest environmental monitoring programme-Copernicus. The event was hosted by Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France, where engineers have spent the last few years building and testing Sentinel-3A. The satellite took 8 years of development, integration and testing with more than 100 companies involved in it.
Building on the highly successful Envisat and CryoSat satellites, Sentinel-3A’s sensors will measure different aspects of ocean waters, such as changes in the temperature and height of the sea surface – information that is needed for ocean forecasting and maritime safety. This multitalented satellite also provides information to map the topography and extent of ice and to monitor the height of lake and river water. Susanne Mecklenburg, ESA’s Sentinel-3A mission manager, said, “We have put in place all facilities, such as receiving stations and processing and archiving centres, to support the day-to-day operations, which will be shared by ESA and Eumetsat.”