ESA readies environmental satellite for launch

The Sentinel-2A satellite will study Earth's plants and land cover.
By Andrew McDonald | Apr 24, 2015
According to a European Space Agency statement, the ESA is preparing to launch a new satellite on June 12. The satellite, Sentinel-2A, was transported by plane and truck from Germany to Europe's Spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana, arriving on April 21. Sentinel-2A was immediately installed in a cleanroom and removed from its protective container on April 23. It will be connected to its electrical ground support equipment for tests.

"Every eventuality has to be considered when transporting such delicate cargo, so the journey was planned with every detail in mind to ensure Sentinel-2A was well looked after," said ESA Launch Campaign Manager Paolo Laberinti. "The team is now raring to go and start the programme to prepare this state-of-the-art satellite for launch in June."

Sentinel-2A is the latest satellite in the European Commission's Copernicus initiative to study Earth's environments. Sentinel-2A is the first ESA satellite to boast both high-resolution and multispectral imaging capacities.

The satellite's orbit will carry it over areas multiple times, and its equipment will provide a coverage path 290 kilometers across. These attributes will allow Sentinel-2A to study changes in vegetation and land surface in extraordinary precision and accuracy.

Data provided by Sentinel-2A will reveal information about plants, including chlorophyll and water content, essential for predicting crop yields. Data from the mission will benefit agricultural and forestry enterprises. The satellite also will keep an eye on Earth's forests, fluctuations in land cover, and pollution in lakes and along coasts. Data on floods, volcanic activity, landslides, and other natural disasters will aid relief efforts and mapping such occurrences.

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