Monday, October 6, 2014

ESA Sentinel-1: First Copernicus satellite now operational - Video

Napa Valley quake. 

Credit: Copernicus data (2014) /ESA /PPO.labs /Norut /COMET-SEOM Insarap study

With the commissioning of ESA's Sentinel-1A completed and the satellite's transfer to the team in charge of its exploitation, its data are available as of today to all users.

This marks the beginning of the satellite's operational life, delivering radar coverage for an array of applications in the areas of oceans, ice, changing land and emergency response.

Project Manager Ramón Torres, who led the development team, formally handed over the satellite to the Mission Manager, Pierre Potin.

"The time has arrived for the satellite to exploit its extraordinary capabilities and start helping users," said Ramón.

A leap forward from ESA's earlier Envisat, the unprecedented quality of ESA's Sentinel-1A will ensure that all users' needs are fully met.

"Of course, saying farewell is always difficult, but I am confident that it is in capable and safe hands for the next stage of its journey."

Launched on 3 April, ESA's Sentinel-1A completed commissioning on 23 September, an important process that ensures the satellite, instruments, data acquisition and data processing procedures are working well.

Not only did ESA's Sentinel-1A pass these tests and reach its target orbit on 7 August, eight anticollision manoeuvres to avoid space debris were performed during this phase.

ESA's Sentinel-1A is the first satellite dedicated to Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme. 

This new satellite carries an advanced synthetic aperture radar that works in several specialised modes to provide detailed imagery for monitoring the oceans, including shipping lanes, sea ice and oil spills. 

It also provides data to map changing land cover, ground deformation, ice shelves and glaciers, and can be used to help emergency response when disasters such as floods strike and to support humanitarian relief efforts at times of crisis. 

Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

The satellite will now begin delivering radar scans for an array of operational services and scientific research.

"My main objective is to ensure that ESA's Sentinel-1A fulfils the high expectations from the various operational services and scientific users," notes Pierre.

"Looking at the satellite and ground segment performance, as demonstrated during the commissioning, as well as the preliminary results achieved so far, I'm confident that the mission will be a great success."

The satellite will continue to be monitored, operated and controlled from ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The Sentinels are a new fleet of ESA satellite poised to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to Europe's Copernicus programme.

By offering a set of key information services for a broad range of applications, this global monitoring programme is a step change in the way we manage our environment, understand and tackle the effects of climate change, and safeguard everyday lives.

ESA's Sentinel-1A, a two-satellite constellation, is the first in the series and carries an advanced radar to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth's surface.

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