The European Union’s Copernicus environmental monitoring system gained colour vision earlier today. The Sentinel-2A satellite was launched today on a Vega rocket from Kourou in French Guiana.
The satellite is developed by the European Space Agency in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space.
The Sentinel-2A’s imaging instrument uses 13 spectral channels ranging from the visible to the infrared. It can deliver high-res multispectral images of the Earth with a resolution of up to 10 metres at an image width of 290 kilometres.
The ESA’s Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain tells that Sentinel-2 is the second addition to a constellation of 20 satellites which will scrutinise planet Earth.
The mission will contribute to food security by providing information for the agricultural sector. It will also monitor changes in land surfaces, oceans and forest covers. The mission will also provide images of floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides to help disaster management agencies.
Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, notes that by frequently revisiting areas, Sentinel 2A will allow a new generation of operational products.
Let’s have a look at some of the reactions coming in to this news…
Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), tells GeoBuiz that Copernicus will see great economic returns like NASA’s Landsat programme. It will help national economies, she affirms.
Jonathan Amos, BBC Science correspondent from UK, tweeted:
— Jonathan Amos (@BBCAmos) June 23, 2015
Also from UK, marine biologist Rodney Forster said:
— Rodney Forster (@rodney_forster) June 22, 2015
The 1.1 tonne satellite has been designed to operate for at least 7 years in a polar orbit around 780 kilometres above the Earth. The mission is expected to begin operations in three or four months. A twin satellite, Sentinel-2B, is scheduled for launch in [email protected]