Copernicus Programme: Sentinel-1A Now Fully Operational

The European Space Agency report that their ‘Sentinel-1A’ satellite is now fully commissioned, operational and transmitting data for scientific research.

1A is the first satellite of a ‘two-constellation’ array within ESA’s Copernicus programme.

The programme will incorporate a space and ground component, with the space component consisting of a further six seperate Sentinel-n satellites—these will be launched incrementally over the coming years and will be utilised for various tasks, from environmental monitoring through to global security.

Launched upon a Soyuz rocket on 3rd April 2014, from Kourou, French Guiana, Sentinel-1A is a multi-functional satellite that will be responsible for delivering an array of land and ocean based services, such as: ‘monitoring sea ice, oil spills, marine winds & waves, land-use change, land deformation among others, and to respond to emergencies such as floods and earthquakes.’

As Project Manager Ramón Torres states: ‘A leap forward from ESA’s earlier Envisat, the unprecedented quality of Sentinel-1A will ensure that all users’ needs are fully met. The time has arrived for the satellite to exploit its extraordinary capabilities and start helping users.’

The next satellite in the series, Sentinel-1B, will be the second phase of the programme and is designed to work in direct conjunction with 1A to provide a wider range of improved services—launch date is planned for 2016. 

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Paul Hattle

As a strong advocate for science and learning, I am a passionate supporter of the 'Campaign for Science and Engineering' (CaSE) Fellow of the 'Royal Astronomical Society' (RAS) Associate Member of the 'Institute of Physics' (IOP) & 'The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' (ISTC)

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