ESA launches first Sentinel Earth observation satellite

4 Apr 2014

Sentinel 1 image via ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched Sentinel, one of the most advanced satellites ever created to give detailed observations on the Earth as part of the EU’s Copernicus Programme.

Launched from its base in French Guiana at 21:02 UTC, the Sentinel is the first in a series of satellite launches of the most ambitious global civilian Earth Observation project ever conceived.

The launch will be contributing to the European Union’s Copernicus programme, led by the European Commission (EC), in partnership with the ESA and the European Environment Agency (EEA) who will form a unified system through which vast amounts of data, acquired from space and from a multitude of ground-based sensors, will provide a range of thematic information services designed to benefit the environment, the way we live, address humanitarian needs and support effective policy-making for a more sustainable future. 

To date, more than €3.4bn has been spent on the Copernicus programme and a further €3.8bn will be committed to 2020, making it the world’s largest civil Earth observation programme. As part of our commitment within the EU, Ireland has contributed to the funding of Copernicus and, according to Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, as it “will provide important new commercial opportunities for Irish SMEs to develop bespoke environmental monitoring services with strong potential for export across international markets leading to new job growth creation opportunities.”

In total, the EC anticipates that Copernicus could generate a financial benefit of some €30bn and create 50,000 jobs in Europe by 2030.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic