Earth observation Satellites Current Affairs
Morocco successfully launched its second earth observation satellite named Mohammed VI-B on board of Arianespace Vega rocket from launch pad at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in South America. It will be placed at same orbit as its twin satellite Mohammed 6-A, the first Moroccan satellite launched in November 2017 also on Vega rocket. The launch completes Morocco’s two-satellite constellation for Earth observation.
The 1,100-kilogram satellite was developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Airbus Defence and Space. Airbus had built platform of satellite while Thales Alenia Space supplied payload and ground segment for image processing. It will be mainly used for mapping, land surveying, agricultural monitoring, prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification as well as border and coastal surveillance.
It is multinational company founded in 1980. It is world’s first commercial launch service provider. It has its headquarters in Courcouronnes, Essonne, France. It offers a number of different launch vehicles: heavy-lift Ariane 5 for dual launches to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), Soyuz-2 as medium-lift alternative, and solid-fueled Vega for lighter payloads. As of May 2017, Arianespace has launched more than 550 satellites in 254 launches over 34 years. It uses Guiana Space Center in French Guiana as its main launch site. ISRO uses Arianespace’s services for launching its heavy satellites. Arianespace’s Vega is a four-stage rocket designed by Arianespace launch small commercial and science satellites into orbit. The rocket is 98 feet (30 meters) tall and can launch payloads of up to 2,500 kilograms (5,511 pounds) into orbit.
India’s Department of Space (DoS) and European Union (EU) have signed cooperation agreement related to sharing of earth observation satellite data. The agreement aims to strengthen and stimulate cooperation on earth observation and mutual access to data from EU’s Sentinel series of satellites and from Indian earth observation satellites. The data sharing will provide mutual benefits, in particular in pursuit of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Under this arrangement, EU will provide India with free, full and open access to data from Copernicus Sentinel family of satellites using high bandwidth connections from data hub to data hub. Reciprocally, India will provide Copernicus programme and its participating states with free, full and open access to data from ISRO’s earth observation satellites including historical data sets. This comprises data from land, ocean and atmospheric series of ISRO’s civilian satellites (Oceansat-2, Scatsat-1, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL, INSAT-3D, INSAT-3DR) with exception of commercial high-resolution satellites data. The agreement also envisages technical assistance for establishment of high bandwidth connections with ISRO sites, in particular through setting up of mirror servers, data storage and archival facilities.
It is the world’s largest single earth observation programme directed by European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). It aims at achieving global, continuous, autonomous, high quality, wide range Earth observation capacity.
It provides wide range of applications like climate change, ocean, land and atmosphere monitoring as well as support in forecasting, management and mitigation of natural disasters. Its full, free and open data policy has proven its merits and allowed development of thriving user base in Europe and beyond.