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Sentinel-2B satellite launched for Europe’s Copernicus program

March 7, 2017  - By
Artist's rendering of Sentinel-2B.

Artist’s rendering of Sentinel-2B.

The Sentinel-2B satellite was launched for the European Commission on Monday, March 6, at 10:49 p.m. local time from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Following the successful launches of Sentinel-1A, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-1B, the mission with Sentinel-2B marks the fourth satellite in the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth observation program to be orbited by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center, within the scope of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The Sentinel-2B Earth observation satellite mainly focuses on monitoring land masses and coastal zones around the world. It will be positioned in an orbit opposite that of Sentinel-2A to ensure optimum coverage and data delivery. The pair of Sentinel-2 satellites will cover the Earth’s entire surface in five days. This high frequency means they will capture brand-new views of the Earth, driving considerable progress in monitoring and predicting changes in vegetation and aquatic pollution.

Sentinel-2B combines a multispectral, wide-swath, very-high-resolution optical imaging instrument with a dedicated platform developed by Airbus, a long-standing partner to Arianespace. It is the 61st Earth observation satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

ESA’s Sentinel program includes six families of satellites:

  • Sentinel-1 will ensure data continuity with the ERS and Envisat radar satellites.
  • Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 are designed to help provide a better understanding of how climate change impacts our daily lives.
  • Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 are dedicated to meteorology and climatology, with a special focus on studying the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Sentinel-6 will measure ocean topography, mainly for operational oceanography and climatology.

This was the third launch of the year for Arianespace and the first in 2017 with the Vega light launcher. It also marked the ninth successful launch in a row for Vega, which made its debut at the Guiana Space Center in 2012.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.