[SatNews] The Sentinel-2A satellite on Arianespace’s next Vega mission is being readied for pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport, which will enable this European Earth observation platform to be orbited in June from French Guiana.
During activity in the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility, Sentinel-2A was removed from the shipping container that protected this 1,140-kg.-class spacecraft during its airlift from Europe to the South American launch site. With Sentinel-2A now connected to its ground support equipment and successfully switched on, the satellite will undergo verifications and final preparations for a scheduled June 11 liftoff. The mission with Sentinal-2A is designated Flight VV05, signifying the fifth launch of the lightweight Vega vehicle – which has joined Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 for a complete launcher family to orbit commercial, governmental, institutional, scientific and experimental payloads.
Sentinal-2A is the latest in Europe’s series of Earth observation satellites for the Copernicus initiative, which is headed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency. With its “color vision,” Sentinel-2A is to deliver high-resolution and multispectral capabilities – offering a 290 km.-wide coverage path and frequent revisits. By generating views of Earth’s vegetation and changing landscape in unprecedented detail and accuracy, Sentinal-2A will provide information for agricultural and forestry, as well as help to manage food security. Its images of such Earth activity as floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides are to assist in disaster mapping and help humanitarian relief efforts.
Airbus Defence and Space is Sentinel-2A’s prime contractor. The satellite will join Sentinel-1A, orbited by Arianespace in April 2014 on a Soyuz launcher, and which carries an advanced radar instrument for all-weather, day-and-night imaging of the Earth’s surface.