Copernicus observation program Current Affairs

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EU successfully launches 5th satellite of Copernicus observation program

European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite, fifth of its Sentinel Earth observation satellites part of its multi-billion-euro Copernicus observation program.

The optical imaging satellite was launched on board of a Vega rocket from ESA’s spaceport in French Guiana. It marks overall ninth successful launch of the Vega launcher since its debut in 2012. 

Key Facts
  • The Sentinel-2B satellite is part of satellites system that monitors Earth. It will join its twin Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015. The two satellites will orbit 786 km above Earth, on opposite sides of planet.
  • They will take high-resolution, colour and infrared images for a wide array of environmental initiatives, including crop forecasting and monitoring natural disasters.
  • Together, they will cover all of Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waterways every five days, providing more up-to-date images and at higher resolution than have been available.
  • It will help track pollution of lakes and coastal waters, monitor land changes and produce disaster maps by providing information on floods, landslide and volcanic eruptions.

About Copernicus observation program

  • Copernicus observation program is the world’s largest single earth observation programme. It is directed by the European Commission in partnership with ESA.
  • It consists of constellation of seven Sentinel Earth observation satellites. The first satellite of the series was launched in April 2014.
  • It aims at achieving a global, continuous, autonomous, high quality, wide range Earth observation capacity by providing accurate, timely and easily accessible information.
  • It also aims at improving the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure civil security.
  • Copernicus observation program is successor of previous European Envisat program which operated from 2002 to 2012.

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