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Observation de la terre

Follow ESA's Earth observation missions as they are prepared for liftoff
  1. Editor’s note: This post was contributed by Dieter Pikulski, who won the Copernicus Masters GEO Illustration Challenge. Part of his prize was a trip to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou to witness the launch of Sentinel-2B. If you can imagine an action-cam mounted to a rocket and a thundering 3D sound experience, this story is definitely for you. For this is what it feels like when you look at the impressive images of the rocket launch – while trying to figure out the exact number of subwoofers that would be needed to create such a sound (from a distance of 12 km). What happens there is just breathtaking! Thanks to GEO magazine and an illustration challenge I had entered and won, I was allowed to join the ESA delegation visiting the launch of the Sentinel-2B satellite. Before the actual launch, an intensive schedule including visits to the assembly hangars of Ariane 5 and Soyuz as well as to each of the three launch pads (including the ‘headliner’ Vega) made the hours fly by. It was just unbelievable that we could literally touch these rockets … at least those that were not launching on that night. Finally, zero hour was drawing near. At first, one can feel the euphoria at the Jupiter Control centre. Yet, a few moments later the band begins to play: Even though the operators are separated from the ‘audience by a glass wall, you can sense the tension. After all, the majority of the spectators are directly involved in this project. Within the room, an absolute silence sets in. From then on, the presentation and livestream comments are only audible via headphones. After a few comments and addresses – about two minutes before launch – the silence is superseded by the booming crack of the gates being opened […]
  2. With the Sentinel-2B satellite now safely in orbit around Earth, the team at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou spent the weekend packing up to return to Europe. They have been there since the beginning of January and although some have had a break back home, it’s been an intense two months preparing the Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite for liftoff. The launch campaign involved thoroughly testing the satellite and making it ready to be encapsulated inside the Vega rocket fairing, rehearsing the launch with colleagues in ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, and more. A launch campaign is the last step after years spent developing and building a satellite – and all this hard work paid off after the signal came that the satellite was in orbit and its solar wing had deployed so can generate energy. The 1.1 tonne satellite was carried into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 01:49 GMT on 7 March (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time, 6 March). The first stage separated 1 min 55 sec after liftoff, followed by the second stage and fairing at 3 min 39 sec and 3 min 56 sec, respectively, and the third stage at 6 min 32 sec. After two more ignitions, Vega’s upper stage delivered Sentinel-2B into the targeted Sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite separated from the stage 57 min 57 sec into the flight. Telemetry links and attitude control were then established by controllers at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing activation of Sentinel’s systems to begin. The satellite’s solar panel has already been deployed.  Naturally, this point of success was cause for much celebrating, both in Kourou and in Europe. The optical imaging Sentinel-2 mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites: Sentinel-2A, which was launched in June 2015 also […]
  3. The ESA-developed Sentinel-2B satellite was launched today, doubling the coverage of high-resolution optical imaging in the Sentinel-2 mission for the European Union Copernicus environmental monitoring system. The 1.1 tonne satellite was carried into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 01:49 GMT on 7 March (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time, 6 March). The first stage separated 1 min 55 sec after liftoff, followed by the second stage and fairing at 3 min 39 sec and 3 min 56 sec, respectively, and the third stage at 6 min 32 sec. After two more ignitions, Vega’s upper stage delivered Sentinel-2B into the targeted Sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite separated from the stage 57 min 57 sec into the flight. Telemetry links and attitude control were then established by controllers at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing activation of Sentinel’s systems to begin. The satellite’s solar panel has already been deployed. After this first ‘launch and early orbit’ phase, which typically lasts three days, controllers will begin checking and calibrating the instruments to commission the satellite. The mission is expected to begin operations in three to four months. The optical imaging Sentinel-2 mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites: Sentinel-2A, which was launched in June 2015, and Sentinel-2B. Although launched separately, the satellites are placed in the same orbit, flying 180° apart. Every five days, the satellites jointly cover all land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters between latitudes 84°S and 84°N, optimising global coverage and data delivery. Each Sentinel-2 satellite carries an innovative high-resolution multispectral camera with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of land and vegetation. The combination of high-resolution, novel spectral capabilities, a field of vision covering 290 km and frequent revisit times will provide unprecedented views of […]
  4.   Watch the replay of Sentinel-2B liftoff from Kourou. http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2017/03/Sentinel-2B_liftoff
  5. The ESA Sentinel-2B team in Kourou, French Guiana, ready for liftoff.