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Environmental sentinel

Estrategias_AntarcticaESASentinel-1A, the satellite developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and launched on April 3, 2014, has sent its first images of the Earth’s surface. They are a small sample of the type of image that the mission will supply for the ambitious European environmental monitoring program known as Copernicus. Sentinel-1A is equipped with a radar instrument capable of scanning the Earth’s surface through clouds and rain, which will facilitate monitoring of glaciers, oil spills in the ocean and changes in land use, in addition to the responses to emergencies such as floods and earthquakes. The satellite is also outfitted with a laser terminal for rapid transmission of its data via the European Data Relay System (EDRS), a system of orbiting satellites designed to minimize delays when transmitting large amounts of data. The ESA expects that the data generated by Sentinel-1A will be useful in formulating new environmental and security policies. Since its launch, the satellite has performed a complicated routine to deploy its 12-meter radar instruments and its long solar wings. Built at a cost of €280 million, Sentinel-1A has not yet entered its operational orbit, which should occur within a three-month horizon. One of the first images sent by the satellite shows the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. Another satellite, Sentinel-1B, identical to 1-A, will be launched next year to optimize data transmission from space.