The second Sentinel-1 satellite – Sentinel-1B – was launched on 25th April 2015 to provide more ‘radar vision’ for Europe’s environmental Copernicus programme. Sentinel-1B lifted off on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST), separating from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage 23 min 35 sec later.
Sentinel-1B joins its identical twin, Sentinel-1A, in orbit to deliver information for numerous services, from monitoring ice in polar seas to tracking land subsidence, and for responding to disasters such as floods. “Orbiting 180° apart, the two satellites optimise coverage and data delivery for services that are making a step change in the way our environment is managed.”
(Artistic rendition of satellite in orbit)
Both satellites carry an advanced radar that images Earth’s surface through cloud and rain regardless of whether it is day or night.
During the launch, the satellite’s 12 m-long radar antenna and two 10 m-long solar wings were folded up to fit into the Soyuz rocket’s protective fairing.
“Importantly, the programme is helping to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers by transferring ESA know how in designing, building, testing, launching and operating satellites,” said Piero Galeone, ESA’s Head of the Tertiary Education Unit.
“This way we are helping to shape the space workforce of the future by enabling students to experience the full lifecycle of a real space project according to ESA’s standards.”