(CN) – The European Space Agency said Tuesday that its Sentinel-1B satellite is ready for launch on a mission to provide radar images of Earth that can be used to better understand the planet’s changing environment.
The satellite is fueled and will be launched April 22 on a Soyuz rocket.
Sentinel-1B will join its identical twin Sentinel-1A, which was launched in 2014 as part of the Sentinel project for Europe’s Copernicus program – an environmental monitoring program that aims to establish autonomous observation of Earth.
After it launches, Sentinel-1B will orbit 180 degrees apart from Sentinel-1A in order to provide complete global coverage and efficient data delivery.
The mission will help to improve many aspects of everyday life in addition to recording environmental trends, such as monitoring ice in polar oceans and changes in global landscapes.
The Sentinel satellites can also monitor earthquakes and oil spills and provide key information in humanitarian crises around the world.
“Everyone is very proud of their mission and each team has invited the others to see their satellite,” Ramon Torres, Sentinel-1 project manager, told the European Space Agency.
Sentinel-1B will ride the Soyuz rocket with several smaller satellites including Microscope, which will test the equivalence principle by experimenting with the universality of free fall.
“After all these years of engineering and science, the equivalence principle is ready to face reality in space with Microscope, which has just joined Sentinel-1B for the combined operations,” Olivier Deslandes, mission director for Microscope, told the European Space Agency.
France-based Arianespace will handle the satellites’ launch from a spaceport in French Guiana, on the Atlantic side of South America.
Photo credit: ESA/ATG medialab
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