At 01:49 GMT on March 6th 2017, the second of the Sentinel-2 satellites will blast off from the European Space Agencies launch site at Kourou, French Guiana atop a Vega rocket. I, along with a handful of other space-mad representatives from over 47 countries will be watching the launch live from ESA’s Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt German. This event, an invitation only affair, is designed to pull together space related social media operators old and new, and give them the opportunity to network, and share the experience of a live launch right from the epicentre of activity.

Sentinel-2b (Image: ESA)

This launch will see the second of the sentinel-2 craft entering orbit, as part of the Copernicus Programme. The satellites are designed to study the Earth. Sentinel-2b will be placed into a polar orbit, similar to that of its sister craft.

The two craft will be able to gather high resolution images of the Earth, and cover the entire sphere once every 5 days, thanks to their spacing, being 180 degrees in separation. The craft are equipped with high resolution wide angle cameras, capable of capturing 13 spectral bands at once. The wide angle means that each image will capture a width of 290 km, allowing extremely detailed surface monitoring.

The data collected by the sentinel team will allow the monitoring of agricultural and forestry activity as well as being able to monitor vegetation growth and decline.

For more information on the applications of the satellites, click HERE

The Vega rocket that will be carrying Sentinel-2b is the ESA’s small launcher, standing 30m tall and with a liftoff capacity of 139 tonnes. Its powered by 3 solid fuel motors, and topped with a liquid fuel upper fourth stage.

ESA’s Vega Rocket (Image: ESA)

I will be in Darmstadt monitoring the launch live, 6th-7th March, to follow, keep an eye out on my twitter @mw5868 I’ll be basing my post for next month on the launch, and will hopefully have a lot more images and videos to share, including sharing what its like to be in the ESA’s mission control centre, and meeting those who work there, and make the magic happen.




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