Europe launches fifth environmental satellite

Europe has launched a fifth environmental observation satellite as part of its Copernicus programme. Sentinel-2B was successfully launched earlier today by the European Space Agency and will help monitor the […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Europe has launched a fifth environmental observation satellite as part of its Copernicus programme.

Sentinel-2B was successfully launched earlier today by the European Space Agency and will help monitor the earth by providing high resolution colour and infrared images of land masses, oceans and waterways.

The £95 million spacecraft joins its twin satellite Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015.

Together they will study the health of crops and forests, track the growth of cities and detect the effects of changing land use and global warming on vegetation.

Sentinel 2B will also monitor natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as support humanitarian relief efforts.

Over the next seven years the programme will cost around £3.7 billion – however, it’s expected to return at least 10 times this figure to the EU economy, despite all of its data being available for free.

Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, said: “European citizens can be proud! After the presentation of the EU Space Strategy, the launch of four Galileo satellites with Ariane 5 and the initial services of Galileo – now comes a giant leap for Copernicus.

“This is good news for agriculture, for our climate and environment, the detection of water pollution and our ability to cope with disasters.”