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Entries by Natasha Hyde

Soyuz rocket lifts off with 73 satellites

Soyuz rocket lifts off with 73 satellites

A Russian Soyuz booster lifted off Friday from Kazakhstan on a complex mission to deploy 73 satellites into three different orbits, including a Russian spacecraft to locate forest fires, 48 CubeSats for Planet’s global Earth observation fleet, and eight nanosatellites for Spire Global’s commercial weather network.

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket fired into space at 0636:49 GMT (2:36:49 a.m. EDT; 12:36:49 p.m. Kazakh time) from Launch Pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan.

Heading north from the Central Asia space base, the Soyuz shed its four strap-on rocket engines less than two minutes after liftoff, followed by the release of the rocket’s […] Read more

See our seasons change

See our seasons change

With the Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite fully fledged and its data freely available, the task of monitoring and understanding our changing planet has been made that much easier. Seeing the effect spring has on our plant life is just one of its many uses.

Launched in February 2016 and carrying a suite of instruments, Sentinel-3 is the most complex of all the Sentinel missions.

As the workhorse mission for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, it measures Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere systematically so that large-scale global changes can be monitored and understood. While Sentinel-3 offers this ‘big picture’, it can also be […] Read more

Call for Media:  First Copernicus air-quality monitoring satellite on show

Call for Media: First Copernicus air-quality monitoring satellite on show

Media are invited to see the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite on 20 July at Airbus in Stevenage, UK, before it is shipped to Russia for launch. As well as viewing this state-of-the-art Copernicus satellite in the cleanroom, media representatives will be able to learn how the mission will revolutionise air-quality monitoring.

With air pollution a major environmental health problem that affects people in developed and developing countries alike, it has never been more important to monitor the air we breathe. Sentinel-5P has been built to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane that affect air […] Read more

Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

A giant iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg has broken off an ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula and is now adrift in the Weddell Sea.

Reported to be “hanging by a thread” last month, the trillion-tonne iceberg was found to have split off from the Larsen C segment of the Larsen ice shelf on Wednesday morning after scientists examined the latest satellite data from the area.

The Larsen C ice shelf is more than 12% smaller in area than before the iceberg broke off – or “calved” – an event that researchers say has changed the landscape of the Antarctic peninsula […] Read more

Sentinel Satellite Captures Birth of Behemoth Iceberg

Over the last few months, a chunk of Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf has been hanging on precariously as a deep crack cut across the ice. Witnessed by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg has now broken off, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.

The fissure first appeared several years ago, but seemed relatively stable until January 2016, when it began to lengthen.

In January 2017 alone it travelled 20 km, reaching a total length of about 175 km.

For more on this […] Read more

EU could drive global innovation in Earth observation data

EU could drive global innovation in Earth observation data

Copernicus – a joint project between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) that uses satellites and ground sensors to monitor the environment – is the world’s largest civil Earth observation programme, producing over 8 petabytes per year.

Earth observation data has many important uses, such as tracking deforestation and rising sea levels, helping farmers and fisheries to operate sustainably, and monitoring humanitarian crises.

But Copernicus is not the world’s only supplier, and if the EU and others agreed to provide standardised Earth observation data through a shared and trusted platform, that platform could support additional innovative uses of data in […] Read more

Small satellites driving space industry growth: report

Small satellites used for observing conditions on the earth are the fastest growing segment of the $260.5 billion global satellite industry, the Satellite Industries Association said in an annual report released on Tuesday.

Small satellites, some no bigger than a shoe box, generated an 11 percent jump in annual revenue for Earth imagery in 2016 and a growing share of the 1,459 operating spacecraft that circled the planet at the end of the year, the report said.

The orbital fleet includes 499 satellites that weigh up to 1,323 pounds (600 kg), many of them used for Earth observation and remote […] Read more

Giant Iceberg in the Making

All eyes are on Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf as a deep crack continues to cut across the ice, leaving a huge chunk clinging on. When it eventually gives way, one of the largest icebergs on record will be set adrift. Even before the inevitable happens, ESA’s CryoSat mission can reveal some of the future berg’s vital statistics.

Monitored by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar pair, the crack in the ice is now around 200 km long, leaving just 5 km between the end of the fissure and the ocean.

While we wait for Sentinel-1 to tell us when this 6000 sq km […] Read more

Pandora measures fire fumes over Rome

While a fire at a rubbish depot was detected from space by the Copernicus Sentinel-3A and ESA’s Proba-V satellites, pollutants in the plume of thick smoke were measured by instruments that will be used to validate information from the upcoming Sentinel-5 Precursor mission.

The fire broke out on 5 May in Pomezia, a town 50 km south of Rome in Italy. It burned for two days.

The smouldering rubbish, which included plastics, sent a toxic cloud into the sky forcing homes and schools in the area to be evacuated.

For more information, please visit: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Pandora_measures_fire_fumes_over_Rome

[…] Read more

Satellite data to map endangered monkey populations on Earth

A team of scientists led by the Universities of Leicester and East Anglia are leading research to protect wildlife by using satellite data to identify monkey populations that have declined through hunting.

In a new article in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, a working group chaired by Professor Heiko Balzter, from the National Centre for Earth Observation at the University of Leicester, has looked at ways in which an array of technologies could be used to identify how many species are alive in an area and the risks they may be exposed to.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team can […] Read more