Sentinel 3B Good to Go

Sentinel 3B Good to Go

After being put through its paces to make sure it is fit for life in orbit around Earth, the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite is ready to be packed up and shipped to Russia for liftoff.

Its twin, Sentinel-3A, has been in orbit since February 2016, systematically measuring our oceans, land, ice and atmosphere. The information feeds a range of practical applications and is used for monitoring and understanding large-scale global dynamics.

The pairing of identical satellites provides the best coverage and data delivery for Europe’s Copernicus programme – the largest environmental monitoring programme in the world.

Sentinel-3B has spent the last year at Thales […] Read more

Space Helps Forests Regenerate

Space Helps Forests Regenerate

Many of us probably think of trees during the festive season more than any other time of the year. With Christmas trees now discarded and decorations packed away, we will be turning our attention back to daily life. The task of cultivating and regenerating forests, however, is a year-long concern – but one that can be made easier and cheaper thanks to satellites and cloud-computing.

In Finland, conifers are not only the most common native species of tree, but economically the most important. Once the trees have been felled, seedlings are planted as part of the regeneration process.

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Prototype satellite makes way for 4K ‘Earth observation’

Prototype satellite makes way for 4K ‘Earth observation’

British company Earth-i confirmed the successful launch of a prototype satellite earlier today. Called the CARBONITE-2, it’s an early test version of a planned constellation (the Vivid-i) that will be the first network bringing full color, full motion video from Earth’s orbit.

The prototype satellite has a UHD camera aboard, which will be able to capture high-res images of locations anywhere on Earth, as well as record up to two minutes of video similar to Urthecast. It’s just the first step for Earth-i, though; the company plans to use CARBONITE-2 to prove that its tech is viable, as well as demonstrate what the eventual […] Read more

Earth Observing System: Monitoring the Planet’s Climate

Earth Observing System: Monitoring the Planet’s Climate

NASA is well known for observating space, but the agency also has a strong hand in monitoring Earth. NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) is a collection of satellites designed to monitor and understand key components of the climate system and their interactions over an extended period.

“NASA and other space agencies had launched satellites to study [Earth] before,” the agency said in a press release after EOS had operated for a decade and a half. “But the past 15 years have produced a more comprehensive look at Earth from space than any other period in history. At a time when our […] Read more

Elon Musk’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket set for launch

Elon Musk’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket set for launch

Elon Musk is attempting to fly the world’s most powerful rocket with his own sports car on the top. The US entrepreneur’s Falcon Heavy launcher is designed to have twice the lifting capacity of any other vehicle, but because of the historic high failure rate of maiden flights, only a dummy payload is being risked. Mr Musk has decided this should be his old cherry-red Tesla roadster with a space-suited mannequin strapped in the driver’s seat. David Bowie’s classic hit Space Oddity will be looping on the radio as the car is hurled into an elliptical orbit that stretches […] Read more

Sentinel-5P Brings Air Pollution into Focus

Sentinel-5P Brings Air Pollution into Focus

Launched on 13 October, the Sentinel-5P satellite has delivered its first images of air pollution. Even though the satellite is still being prepared for service, these first results have been hailed as exceptional and show how this latest Copernicus satellite is set to take the task of monitoring air quality into a new era.

This new mission promises to image air pollutants in more detail than ever before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite’s instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus.

One of these first images shows nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Caused […] Read more

International Charter Wins Prestigious Pecora Award

International Charter Wins Prestigious Pecora Award

The International Charter Space and Major Disasters has received a distinguished award for providing free satellite imagery, data and information to the global community during times of crises.

The William Thomas Pecora Award is presented annually to recognise outstanding contributions by individuals or teams using remote sensing to understand Earth, educate the next generation of scientists, inform decision-makers or support natural or human-induced disaster response.

The award has been presented annually since 1974, in honour of William Thomas Pecora, former director of the US Geological Service and under-secretary of the US Department of the Interior.

Dr Pecora was a motivating force behind the […] Read more

Secrets of Hidden Ice Canyons Revealed

Secrets of Hidden Ice Canyons Revealed

We are all aware that Antarctica’s ice shelves are thinning, but recently scientists have also discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of these shelves, potentially making them even more fragile. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.

Antarctica is surrounded by ice shelves, which are thick bands of ice that extend from the ice sheet and float on the coastal waters. They play an important role in buttressing the ice sheet on land, effectively slowing the sheet’s flow as it creeps seaward.

The ice sheet that covers Antarctica is, by its very […] Read more

ESA Takes the Reins of the Disaster Charter

ESA Takes the Reins of the Disaster Charter

When disaster strikes, a group of international space agencies pools its resources and expertise to support relief efforts on the ground. For the next six months, ESA will be leading the International Charter Space and Major Disasters as it brings information from satellites to the aid of the vulnerable.

Every six months, a different member takes the role of Primus Inter Pares – or Charter lead. Last week, ESA took over this role for the sixth time, and is responsible for ensuring that the Charter’s policies and rules are respected.

ESA will also develop new partnerships with the space and the disaster […] Read more

Sentinel-5P: Satellite in Excellent Health

Sentinel-5P: Satellite in Excellent Health

Launched last week, Europe’s Sentinel-5P satellite – the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring the air we breathe – is in excellent health.

The 820 kg satellite was lofted into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia last Friday on a Rockot.

The satellite will use its state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to monitor our atmosphere, mapping a multitude of gases that affect the air we breathe, our climate and human health.

Click here to read the full story.

[…] Read more