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Home / Science / European environmental observer launched by the Russian rocket – Spaceflight Now

European environmental observer launched by the Russian rocket – Spaceflight Now

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A new European satellite, which is launching instruments for tracking changes in the oceans, measuring ice sheets falling back and vegetation growth, climbed on Wednesday to a Russian Rockot carrier.

the seventh satellite of the Copernicus Earth Observation Fleet, a network of environmental observatories funded by the European Union in partnership with the European Space Agency.

The Sentinel 3B ̵

1; weighing about 1150 kilograms – took off in 1757: 1965 GMT (1:57:51 pm EDT) Wednesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Far North of Russia

The satellite was powered by a Rockot Booster through a cloudy sky on the remote wooded military base and turned to north-northwest hydrazine-powered engines atting 420,000 pounds of thrust.

The start took place at 20:57. Local time in Plesetsk, located about 500 miles north of Moscow.

The lower two stages of the Rockot were taken from the Russian supply of disused UR-100N or SS-19 ballistic missiles. Originally built for nuclear warheads, the rocket stages were converted for satellite launches.

The rocket stages completed their back-to-back ignition and Breeze KM advanced stage in the first five minutes of the mission – added the UR. 100N booster to convert to a satellite rocket – detonated for the first of two burns to bring Sentinel 3B into orbit.

The Breeze KM upper stage burned for more than nine minutes to reach a preliminary elliptical orbital GMT (3:12 pm EDT) for approximately 30 seconds to circularize its orbit at a height of approximately 500 miles or 800 kilometers ,

The Sentinel 3B satellite built by Thales Alenia Space was soon used by the Breeze KM stage. The second firing of the rocket and the engineers of the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt received telemetry from the spacecraft at around 1930 GMT (15.30 hrs 59004] The Sentinel 3B radio signals confirmed that the Breeze KM upper stage, which was performing its preprogrammed maneuvers outside communications coverage, placed the new environmental monitoring satellites in the proper orbit.

Controllers say the satellite has deployed its solar array wing Producing electricity is one of the first big steps in the life of every satellite after it's launched.

The signal from Sentinel 3B "arrived perfectly on time," said Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations at ESA's Control Center in Germany. The team has to work all night to stabilize the spaceship … and confirm that all systems are working. "

Almost three days of intensive checkouts and activations are for Sentinel 3B until late Friday or early Saturday scheduled commissioning of the satellite's observation tools

Artistic concept of the satellite Sentinel 3B in orbit. Source: ESA / ATG medialab

Sentinel 3B joins an identical observatory called Sentinel 3A, which launched in February 2016. It is the seventh satellite in the multi-billion dollar Copernicus program, managed by the European Commission, the EU's executive body.

Billed by ESA as the world's most ambitious space-based Earth observation program, the Copernicus fleet is designed to provide scientists, policymakers, businesses, security officials and the public with unprecedented speed in the world's oceans, land surfaces and atmosphere. [19659004] Sentinel satellite data is distributed worldwide for free. European officials regard the Sentinel satellites as part of a continuing operations service that has been developed in series rather than as one-time science missions.

With the launch of Sentinel 3B, the Copernicus program has a complete complement of three satellite families. The first two satellites of the Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 families specializing in disaster relief and land surveying were launched from 2014 to 2017. Another Sentinel 5 Precursor satellite was launched last October to measure global air quality.

Testing and calibration of the Sentinel 5 Precursor Satellite after launch was completed earlier this week, just in time for the control teams focusing on Sentinel 3B, which is launching a seven-year mission.

"This is the seventh launch of a Sentinel satellite in the last four years, said Jan Woerner, ESA Director-General." It is a clear demonstration of what European cooperation can accomplish, and it is another task that to operate the world's largest Earth observation program together with our partners from the European Commission and Eumetsat. "

ESA is responsible for the development and development of the Sentinel satellites on behalf of the EU for Sentinel 3B and its predecessor satellite Sentinel 3A the European weather agency Eumetsat is responsible for the mission operations and the distribution of marine data, while the ESA undertakes the dissemination of land environmental data.

Orbital launch over Sentinel 3B carries an ocean and land color instrument, a sea and land surface temperature radiometer, a dual-frequency synthetic-aperture radar sensor and a microwave radio

The sensors look for marine pollution and trace ocean currents, measure the temperature of seawater and ocean waves, and detect changes in ice and vegetation. The Sentinel 3A and 3B satellites can also measure the height of rivers and lakes and detect forest fires, an ability proven during the last fireseason in California.

This image of the western Mediterranean was taken by Sentinel 3A's Ocean and Land Color Instrument on October 16, 2016. The islands of Corsica and Sardinia are seen to the west with the Tuscan coast and Elba Island in the northeast. The waters along the east coast of Corsica and along the Italian coast are recently colored by the landmass after the heavy rains. Source: ESA / Eumetsat

"We not only work with the marine environmental service, we also work with the country, with the atmosphere and with the air conditioning service," said Susanne Mecklenburg, Sentinel 3 Head of Mission at ESA. "There is a great variety of data that we can actually deliver, and the Marine Service is probably the most sophisticated for the moment, using data on the ocean, especially marine color data, to tell us something about the marine environment

Once it's done Upon first check-out, Sentinel 3B will fly in formation with Sentinel 3A for approximately four months at a distance of approximately 138 miles (223 Kilometers) to allow scientists to calibrate the new satellite's measurements and make sure its instruments are working as expected] "Sentinel 3B in particular is very complicated, with four units aboard, something like the successor to the famous Envisat satellite is, "Woerner said. "It has sensors on board that look at the sea, on ice, but also on fire, so it's really a very complex machine."

At some point in September, Sentinel 3B was to be put into service as soon as the new satellite moves another distance from its twin, so that both observatories can work in tandem and collect data every one to two days at the same location on Earth.

"With Sentinel-3B, Europe has launched the first constellation of Sentinel missions into orbit – this is not a small job and has required strong support from all concerned," said Josef Aschbacher, Head of Earth Observation Programs at ESA. "It allows us to get a very detailed picture of our planet daily and provides important information for policymakers.

" It also offers many opportunities for commercial companies to develop new innovative services. And the free and open data policy allows every citizen to have updates for their own use, "said Aschbacher in a statement.

" When we designed such a satellite constellation 20 years ago, not everyone was convinced that Europe could , "He said," I am glad to see that this has become a reality and that it is now a major European success story. "

Sentinel data is being used by numerous government agencies and corporations, including NASA, NOAA and the US Geological Survey US, shared and redistributed USA, Geoscience Australia, institutions across Europe, Amazon and Google, according to Aschbacher

"We learned a lot (from the Sentinel 3A mission)," said Craig Donlon, ESA-Sentinel-3 "We have scientists working in Europe and throughout the international operational laboratories and research institutes, using satellite data from Sentinel 3 along with other instruments on other satellites to answer a whole range of different questions.

"In the Great Barrier Reef, for example, the Sentinel 3 sea and land surface radiometer gives us the best sea surface temperatures in the world, and this helps us to understand the coral bleaching."

Two more copies of the Sentinel launch the Sentinel 3A satellites and 3B in the years 2023 and 2024 are three satellites under development.

The Sentinel 3A and 3B satellites have a combined value of approximately $ 515 million, or approximately $ 625 million, at current exchange rates. Bruno Berruti, ESA Sentinel 3rd Project Leader.

About two thirds of these costs can be spent on Sentinel 3A be charged because it was the first satellite in the series, it is it

After taking into account the contract of ESA with Eurockot, a German-Russian company that is responsible for commercial Rockot launch services, could be the cost of the mission of Sentinel 3B estimated at around 200 million euros or about 240 million dollars. [19659004] The launch of Sentinel 3B may have been the last commercial Rockot flight under the auspices of Eurockot, a partnership between the European Ariane Group and the Moscow Research and Production Center Khrunichev.

Several more Rockot missions are planned for Russian government satellites, but Eurockot has not booked commercial missions, and Russian news reports that the Rockot program will soon end.

Small ESA satellites, as they used to regularly launch on Rockot boosters, are now set to fly European Vega missiles launched from European territory in French Guiana, a region of South America managed by France. Future satellites from Eurockot's other former customers are also reserved to be launched with other missiles.

Rockot boosters with Breeze KM-Upgrades upgraded for satellite launches have flown 28 times since 2000, a record that included a 2005 mission including an ESA science satellite and a 2011 launch of a Russian military payload transported in the wrong orbit.

The other 26 missions successfully brought their payloads into their intended orbits.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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