Gearing up for third Sentinel-2 satellite


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09/08/2021
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With the primary Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite in orbit since 2015 and the second since 2017, engineers are busy getting ready the mission’s follow-on pair to finally decide up the baton to provide photographs for a myriad of purposes from meals safety to monitoring the decline of Earth’s ice. Slated for launch at the start of 2024, Sentinel-2C has simply began a punishing five-month testing programme to make sure that it’s match for its life in area.

The Sentinel-2 satellites every carry an modern high-resolution multispectral imager, which mixed with their 290 km-wide swath and frequent revisit occasions, provide unprecedented views of Earth.

Sentinel-2C prepared for electromagnetic compatibility testing

The mission gives data primarily for agricultural practices and for tackling the worldwide problem of meals safety. Images can be utilized to find out leaf space chlorophyll and water content material indexes, for instance. These information are significantly vital for efficient yield prediction and purposes associated to Earth’s vegetation.However, during the last six years, the mission’s information have additionally been used to watch modifications in ice sheets and glaciers, coastal erosion, deforestation, burnt land ensuing from wildfires, air pollution in lakes and coastal waters, and extra.The mission relies on a constellation of two equivalent satellites in the identical orbit, 180° aside for optimum protection and information supply. So, when Sentinel-2A retires, Sentinel-2C can be there to take its place, and finally Sentinel-2D will substitute Sentinel-2B.This pairing ensures the continuation of knowledge supply that many Copernicus Services customers now rely.

With such an vital profession forward, it’s important that the following Sentinel-2 satellite to launch, Sentinel-2C, is totally examined. Engineers at Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen, Germany, have spent the final 4 months finishing the build-up of the satellite by integrating its all-important multispectral imager instrument, and have now transported it to IABG’s amenities in Ottobrunn. Given the restrictions that the Covid pandemic has imposed this has been no straightforward matter.Constantin Mavrocordatos, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 challenge supervisor stated, “We are thrilled that Sentinel-2C is now able to be absolutely examined. Airbus has accomplished a spectacular job becoming the entire satellite out, particularly throughout these tough Covid occasions, which has led to some other ways of working to make sure all of the restrictions are revered.

Sentinel-2C being readied for testing

“The satellite arrived safely in IABG where it was unpacked, checked that all is well after its short road trip from Friedrichshafen and was installed in the cleanroom for series of exhaustive tests that will run until Christmas.”The programme features a vary of mechanical checks that simulate the noise and vibrations of liftoff, checks that examine that the satellite deploys its photo voltaic wing accurately, different checks that place the satellite underneath the acute temperature swings it’s going to expertise in area, and electromagnetic compatibility checks to measure radio frequency radiation ranges generated by the satellite and to confirm the proper operation of the satellite gear underneath this surroundings.Once all this has been accomplished, Sentinel-2C can be transported again to Friedrichshafen for some last checks earlier than being positioned in storage to attend till it’s time to ship it to the launch web site in French Guiana. Liftoff is envisaged to happen in early 2024.

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