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Old 17-04-14, 19:21   #1
 
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Green Arrow Satellite Beams Back its First Pictures of Earth

Wave to Sentinel! Satellite Beams Back its First Pictures of Earth -
Revealing Stunning details of Belgium, Namibia and the Antarctic


  • The satellite, launched earlier this month, is on an ambitious mission to provide environmental data on the Earth
  • Its first image is a stunning mosaic of Brussels in Belgium with Antwerp seen in red and blue
  • Another image shows the Caprivi plain in Namibia, Africa, which is currently flooded by the Zambezi river
  • Images such as this will be used for urban planning, monitoring agriculture and for managing water resources
By Daily Mail UK, 17 April 2014


Sentinel has provided a tantalising glimpse into the incredible radar imagery it will provide from its 435 mile (700km) perch above the Earth.
The satellite, launched earlier this month, is on an ambitious mission to provide data for Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.
Rather aptly, its first image is a stunning mosaic of Brussels in Belgium - the seat of the European Commission who are leading the mission.





Taken on 12 April 2014, just nine days after launch, this first image from Sentinel-1A captures
Brussels and surrounds in Belgium. The image also shows a more detailed view of the city in the 'zoom in'.


Antwerp harbour is visible in the top left. The green colours correspond to vegetation, red-blue to urban areas, white to high-density urban areas and black to waterways and low-reflective areas such as airport runways

It clearly captures the dense urban environment of Brussels shown in white in the middle of the picture.
Antwerp can be seen in the top left in red –blue colours and the greens depict vegetation in the surrounding areas. Waterways and low-reflective areas such as airport runways appear black.

Among other applications, images such as this will be used for urban planning, for monitoring agriculture and for managing water resources.
This first set of images also includes an area in Namibia that is currently flooded by the Zambezi river.





An area over the northern part of the Antarctica Peninsula. The image was taken using radar which works by sending out radio waves
and timing how long it takes for them to reflect back. The colours indicate how the land, ice and water reflect the radar signal differently





This image covers parts of Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. With Pine Island Glacier in a state of irreversible retreat,
Sentinel-1 is set to be an vital tool for monitoring such glaciers as well as for providing timely information on many other aspects of the polar regions, such as sea ice and icebergs


Quote:
SENTINEL 1A - KEY FACTS

Launch: 3 April 2014 at Kourou, French Guiana

Life: Minimum of seven years

Mass: 2300 kg (5070 lbs)

Instrument: C-band synthetic aperture radar

Dimensions: 9.2ft (2.8m) long, 8.2ft (2.5m) wide, 13ft (4m) high

Mission: Monitoring sea ice, oil spills, winds and waves, land-use change and to respond to emergencies such as floods and earthquakes
Sentinel-1A’s ability to ‘see’ through cloud and rain and in pitch darkness make it particularly useful for monitoring floods and for offering images for emergency response.
This is because it uses radar which works by sending out radio waves and timing how long it takes for them to reflect back.
Radio waves travel through air virtually unimpeded, but materials like metal, rock and water act almost as mirrors which can help reveal those areas inundated by floods. It also makes no different to radar if the Earth is in darkness.
In fact, the Caprivi plain was shrouded in thick cloud when the satellite acquired the image on 13 April.
One of the images acquired on the same day focuses on Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. This glacier is in a state of ‘irreversible retreat’ so it is important to keep a very close eye on glaciers such as these as they lose ice to the ocean.
Another image reveals a section over the northern part of the Antarctica Peninsula. The colours indicate how the land, ice and water reflect the radar signal differently.
As well as monitoring glaciers, Sentinel-1A is poised to generate timely maps of sea-ice conditions, particularly for the increasingly busy Arctic waters.





This image reveals the extent of flooding in the Caprivi plain from the Zambezi River in Namibia. Victoria Falls is also featured in the image, further east
along the Zambezi River. The image was downloaded two hours after data was received and the resulting products were available in less than an hour





Since it was launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, Sentinel-1A has undertaken a complicated routine
to deploy its 39ft (12m) long radar and two 32 ft (10m) long solar wings (pictured), as well as passing a series of initial instrument checks


Images from its advanced radar can be used to distinguish clearly between the thinner more navigable first-year ice and the hazardous, much thicker multiyear ice to help assure safe year-round navigation in polar waters.
Since it was launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, Sentinel-1A has undertaken a complicated routine to deploy its 39ft (12m) long radar and two 32 ft (10m) long solar wings, as well as passing a series of initial instrument checks.
Engineers still need to refine Sentinel's 435 mile (700km) high orbit by firing the spacecraft’s thruster.

The director of Esa’s Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig, said: ‘We are exceptionally happy with this first set of images.
‘We are in very early days of the satellite’s life in orbit and ground segment operations, but these images certainly demonstrate the calibre of data this advanced radar mission will bring from its different imaging modes, and how it will provide essential data for Copernicus services to benefit us all.’





Sentinel-1A (pictured here at launch) is the first satellite built for the Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.
It willl be used to monitor many aspects of the Earth's environment, from detecting and tracking oil spills to mapping sea ice and monitoring movement in land surfaces
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