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ESA Launches Earth Observation Satellite Sentinel Atop Vega Rocket

7 March 2017, 6:05 am EST By Erin Schroeder Tech Times
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The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched the new Sentinel-2B satellite to monitor the Earth. It’s the fifth satellite of Sentinel Earth observation series and is a part of the multi billion-euro Copernicus program.  ( ESA )

The European Space Agency (ESA) developed Sentinel-2B satellite has been launched. It is a part of the Copernicus program and will join its twin sister satellite Sentinel-2A in outer space.

Sentinel-2A has been orbiting Earth since 2015. Being a part of the ESA's Copernicus Earth Monitoring Program, the satellite duo will observe the globe and will take high-resolution infrared and color images of the planet's surface.

ESA states that the data provided by the satellites will enable scientists to track variations in forest area and water resources.

Sentinel-2B Lifted Up On Vega Rocket

The Copernicus Project has been described as the most ambitious Earth observation program till date. Sentinel-2B launch is the fifth of ESA's Earth observation satellites, which was lifted off upon a Vega rocket at 01:49 GMT on March 7 (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time, March 6) from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Once the satellite entered the sun synchronous orbit, the satellite systems were activated through the establishment of attitude control and telemetry links from Darmstadt, Germany.

"Sentinel-2B will be the fifth satellite launched for Copernicus," said Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA's Earth Observation Programs, ahead of the launch. He also added that the existing sentinel satellites in the orbit are currently transmitting massive amount of data sized 6.5 petabytes up to now.

Sentinel-2B

Similar to the Sentinel-2A, the Sentinel-2B was also launched by Arianespace's Vega rocket. It is equipped with a high-resolution multispectral camera equipped with 13 spectral bands, which will provide high quality images of vegetation and land on the planet's surface. The cameras are designed to see color features as small as 10m across.

Sentinel-2B and Sentinel-2A will be positioned on opposite ends of the planet, to ensure optimum coverage of its surface and better data delivery.

Sentinel-2A And Sentinel-2B

The Sentinel 2 mission of ESA is based on the cooperative work of two satellites, namely Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B. Although launched separately, both the satellites have been placed on the same orbit only 180 degrees apart from each other for maximum ground coverage.

In a span of five days both the satellites jointly scan all land and water surfaces between latitudes 84°S and 84°N. This not only ensures data delivery but also optimizes global land coverage.

The Copernicus Program

Six sentinel satellites in whole makes up ESA's Copernicus program. The program uses a range of spacecrafts, some which will be launched and others already up in the orbit to gather all Earth-monitoring data from space and from ground.

The data derived from the satellites not only helps scientists study the climate change happening on Earth but also helps the European Union draft its policies pertaining to various quotas like fishing.

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