Headlines > News > Arianespace deploys the Copernicus program’s Sentinel-1A satellite

Arianespace deploys the Copernicus program’s Sentinel-1A satellite

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Apr 3, 2014 11:14 pm via: Arianespace
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Arianespace once again delivered on its primary mission to support Europe with guaranteed and autonomous access to space, successfully orbiting the Sentinel-1A Earth observation satellite on a medium-lift Soyuz flight from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Sentinel-1A is the milestone first spacecraft to be orbited for Copernicus, a program of the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency that will create a sustainable European satellite network to collect and evaluate environmental data for civil safety and humanitarian purposes.

Soyuz Flight VS07

Soyuz Flight VS07

Departing with its Soyuz launcher at the precise liftoff time of 6:02:26 p.m. in French Guiana, Sentinel-1A was deployed into a Sun-synchronous orbit – from which the satellite will deliver essential data for Copernicus – during a flight lasting 23 minutes.

Sentinel-1A was developed in an industrial consortium led by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, with Airbus Defence and Space responsible for the C-SAR synthetic aperture radar payload.  Its environmental tasks will include maritime surveillance and monitoring of sea ice, oil spills, landslides and floods, with data collected to assist in reconnaissance and operational support activities in response to natural disasters.

Copernicus is one of two flagship space programs managed by the European Commission, along with the Galileo global navigation satellite system.  Galileo was developed to provide Europe with a high-precision and independent positioning system – with the first four spacecraft deployed on two separate Arianespace Soyuz missions in 2011 and 2012.

Sentinel-1A liftoff

Sentinel-1A liftoff

Total payload lift performance for today’s Sentinal-1A mission – designated VS07 in Arianespace’s family numbering system – was more than 2,270 kg.

In comments from the mission control center after today’s Soyuz success, Chairman & CEO Stéphane Israël said Arianespace has always been committed to the endeavor of bringing space “down to Earth,” and reiterated the company’s readiness to support further missions for the benefit of all European citizens with its full launch vehicle family – composed of the medium-lift Soyuz, heavyweight Ariane 5, and light-lift Vega.

He added that Arianespace’s successes with the initial Galileo and Copernicus spacecraft have paved the way for many more in the two-to-three years to come, as the company’s order book includes 14 Galileo satellites still to be launched on Ariane 5 or Soyuz missions, along with two additional Sentinel satellites that will be orbited by Vega.

Sentinel-1A is the 41st payload lofted by Arianespace for the European Space Agency, and its launch today foreshadows additional European institutional missions in 2014 that will utilize the company’s full launch vehicle family – including an Ariane 5 flight with the fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle for servicing of the International Space Station; launch of the first Galileo FOC (full operational capability) satellites by Soyuz; and a Vega flight with the IXV experimental re-entry vehicle.

Flight VS07 was Arianespace’s third mission conducted from French Guiana so far this year – following an Ariane 5 mission on March 22 and another on February 6, which orbited a combined total of four telecommunications satellites.

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