Sentinel-1a was launched only a few weeks ago as part of the Copernicus Earth observation project and the first set of acquisitions, using the satellite’s ‘Strip map’ mode at 80 km swath and 5×5 m resolution, includes the urban environment of Brussels, a flooded area in Namibia, the northern part of the Antarctica Peninsula, glaciers in West Antarctica and the most recent radar image of the Netherlands. The images were available in less than an hour once they had been received by the ground station.

Sentinel-1a with its C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is destined to be used for Europe’s environmental planning including monitoring of sea ice, oil spills, urban planning and mapping as well as to respond to emergencies such as earthquakes or even plane crushes.

ESA plans to launch a second satellite, Sentinel-1b, to join Sentinel-1a in an orbit designed in a way that new images of the entire Earth will be acquired every six days achieving continual data delivery.

image credits:ESA