A contract signed between ESA and Arianespace has ensured rides into orbit for 5 Copernicus Sentinels: Sentinel-1D, Sentinel-2C, Sentinel-3C, and the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide-A and -B satellites. All of the satellites will likely be launched on Vega-C rockets from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and are scheduled to happen between 2024 and 2026.
The contract not solely marks an necessary milestone within the continuity of the Sentinel missions and the European Union’s Copernicus programme, but additionally Europe’s autonomous entry to area.
It follows the European Union’s Framework Contract for Launch Providers with Arianespace, signed on 29 November 2022.
ESA signed [today’s] contract with Arianespace within the title of and on behalf of the European Union, represented by the European Fee.
Copernicus is the most important supplier of Earth remark knowledge on this planet – and key to the success of the programme is the suite of Sentinel satellite tv for pc missions developed by ESA.
The primary three Sentinel missions had been every designed to function as a pair of equivalent satellites, orbiting 180 levels aside for optimum repeat observations of the planet and knowledge supply.
Every mission carries completely different devices to ship a wealth of knowledge to feed a spread of environmental providers provided by the Copernicus programme, which helps handle a few of immediately’s hardest environmental challenges corresponding to meals safety, rising sea ranges, diminishing ice, pure disasters, and the overarching concern of the local weather disaster.
To make sure continuity of knowledge, the Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions had been every conceived as four-satellite missions; first the A and B satellites working in tandem and subsequently changed by the C and D satellites.
Copernicus Sentinel-1A has been in orbit since 2014, adopted by Sentinel-1B which was launched in 2016. Nonetheless, Sentinel-1B got here to an finish this yr owing to a technical concern so will likely be changed by Sentinel-1C, which will likely be launched within the first half of 2023 on a Vega-C rocket.
This new contract covers the launch of Sentinel-1D within the second half of 2024.
Carrying superior radar know-how to offer an all-weather, day-and-night provide of images of Earth’s floor, the Sentinel-1 mission delivers important knowledge to watch sea ice, monitor icebergs and glaciers, subsidence, oil spills and far more.
The contract additionally covers the launch of Sentinel-2C in mid-2024.
Sentinel-2A was launched in 2015 and Sentinel-2B was launched in 2017.
The satellites every carry an revolutionary extensive swath high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands to assist monitor land cowl change and planet progress, for instance.
The launch of Sentinel-3C, additionally included within the contract, is envisaged to happen in 2024-2025.
Sentinel-3A was launched in 2016 and Sentinel-3B was launched in 2018.
The satellites every carry a set of cutting-edge devices that measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and ambiance to watch and perceive large-scale world dynamics.
The mission gives important data in near-real time for ocean and climate forecasting.
ESA can be creating six Copernicus Sentinel Growth missions to deal with European Union insurance policies and gaps in Copernicus person wants, increasing the present capabilities of the Copernicus programme.
The contract additionally contains the launch of the primary Copernicus Sentinel Growth mission: the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring (CO2M) mission.
The CO2M satellites will every carry a near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human exercise.
It will present a novel and unbiased supply of data to evaluate the effectiveness of coverage measures, and to trace their impression in the direction of decarbonising Europe and assembly nationwide emission discount targets. CO2M-A and CO2M-B are scheduled to be launched in 2025-2026.
The exact launch intervals for the 5 satellites will likely be reviewed by Arianespace, ESA and the European Fee, based mostly on the Arianespace launch manifest and the priorities for the Copernicus Programme.
ESA’s Director of Earth Remark Programmes, Simonetta Cheli, mentioned, “ESA is thrilled to proceed its collaboration with this trusted European launch service, which has been safely inserting Europe’s valuable Copernicus Sentinels in orbit for a number of years now. Past the reliability of the service, we warmly welcome Arianespace’s cooperative strategy to aiding us with the busy Sentinel launch schedule.
“This new contract to launch 5 Copernicus Sentinel satellites on the brand new Vega-C rockets is a crucial step in not solely guaranteeing continuity of the Sentinel-1, -2, and -3 missions and the info they supply for purposes and science, but additionally for the brand new CO2M mission.
Arianespace’s Chief Government Officer, Stephane Israel, mentioned, “One week after the signature of the Framework Contract with the European Fee (DG DEFIS), I’m thrilled to ink, immediately, this particular contract with ESA’s Director of Earth Remark Programmes, for 5 new Vega C launches.”
“It underlines the flexibility of Vega-C to reply the wants of the Copernicus programme in addition to Arianespace’s will to be as much as its mission, to ensure, along with ESA and the European Union, sovereign entry to area for Europe.”
Succeeding the Vega rockets, ESA’s Vega-C ship elevated efficiency, better payload quantity and improved competitiveness.
Working from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, this rocket extends Europe’s autonomy in area by supporting new mission prospects, together with return-to-Earth operations with ESA’s reusable Area Rider re-entry car. Vega-C options main enhancements from Vega: two new stable propulsion phases, an uprated higher stage and new fairing, and new floor infrastructure.
Vega-C is a single physique rocket practically 35 m excessive with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It might place about 2300 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit. Utilizing a brand new vary of payload carriers, Vega-C can accommodate a mixture of cargo styles and sizes, starting from CubeSats as small as one kilogram as much as a single giant payload corresponding to a Sentinel satellite tv for pc.
ESA’s Director of Area Transportation, Daniel Neuenschwander, famous that Vega-C enhances a brand new household of launch providers along with immediately’s Ariane 5 and later Ariane 6 programmes to make sure Europe maintains versatile, aggressive, and autonomous entry to area.
“The profitable inauguration flight paved the way in which for Vega-C to win the boldness of European establishments and business clients. All of the work executed by ESA and our companions to grasp this new and versatile launch system is delivering an optimum answer for a fast-changing market, beginning with Earth Remark.”
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