The equipment is part of a E.U. project called Copernicus Earth and its focus is humanitarian and environmental tracking. Europe’s Sentinel-2A satellite has reached orbit from where it will start sending data to the European Space Agency.
The project objective is to enlist data from multiple sources in order to create a complex and high-quality information database.
It will provide autonomous access to data concerning environmental issues like weather changes and crop tracking.
The Sentinel-2A is only the first such craft in a series of 2. Their mission is to use on-board optical instruments with multi-spectral capabilities, in order to precisely monitor environmental changes.
The monitoring will focus on crop tracking, water contamination, and natural disasters early detection and prevention.
The craft was built by a consortium of about 60 companies led by Airbus.
The Copernicus program will total about 20 satellites with the one launched on Monday being the first of the series and the first of 2 identical ones planned for launch.
Launched aboard a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana the satellite is part of a seven member network.
The Copernicus program is entirely funded by the European Union and by the time it will be fully deployed it will be the largest Earth monitoring and observation program ever created.
The second satellite will be launched at the end of 2016, and will work in tandem with the Sentinel-2A.
The satellite will provide up-to-date monitoring and additional data by revisiting the same point on Earth every 10 days.
The satellite has the ability to quickly review changes in land, ice and water mass, and the gathered data can be used to predict floods and other natural disasters.
One of the most important monitoring targets, is crop development. Again with the use of data and images from the satellite, different E.U. or U.N commissions will be able to predict famine patterns or food shortage areas.
The ability to predict such events gives Lo local and international authorities time to prepare in advance and gather supplies in order to avoid human life loss or injury.
The second satellite, planned for launch in late 2016 is identical to Sentinel-2A and will be named Sentinel-2B. Together the two satellites can cover the entire Earth from latitudes 56 degrees south to 84 degrees north in just five days.
Image Source: spaceref.biz