The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace have signed a contract for the launch of Sentinel-1A, the first Earth observation satellite to be built for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program.
The satellite is scheduled for launch in December 2012 by a Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Sentinel-1 is an imaging radar mission at C-band aimed at providing continuity of data for user services. Weighing about 2300 kg at launch, it will be placed in a near-polar sunsynchronous orbit with a 12-day repeat cycle and 175 orbits per cycle.
Three priorities for the mission have been identified by user consultation working groups of the European Union: Marine Core Services, Land Monitoring and Emergency Services.
These cover applications such as:
. Monitoring sea ice zones and the arctic environment,
. Surveillance of marine environment,
. Monitoring land surface motion risks,
. Mapping of land surfaces: forest, water and soil, agriculture,
. Mapping in support of humanitarian aid in crisis situations
Sentinel-1 is being built by an industrial team led by Thales Alenia Space, Italy.