EVRY, France, July 17, 2014—The European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace announced today that they have signed a launch contract for the second radar satellite in the Sentinel-1 mission, Sentinel-1B, part of Copernicus, a joint European Union and European Space Agency (ESA) environmental monitoring program.
The launch is scheduled on a Soyuz rocket in 2016 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
Sentinel-1B is a C-band radar observation satellite, using SAR (synthetic aperture radar) technology. It will be placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 690 km. This satellite is identical to the Sentinel-1A, successfully launched on April 3, 2014, also by a Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center.
As part of the Copernicus program, Sentinel-1B will round out the initial capacity offered by Sentinel-1A to offer a comprehensive response to the need for environmental and security monitoring via spaceborne radar systems.
Sentinel-1B will be designed and built by Thales Alenia Space Italy, and will weigh about 2,300 kg at launch.
At the contract signature, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: " I would like to express my thanks to the European Space Agency, in charge of the Copernicus space segment, for our unrivaled long-standing partnership. We are very proud to have been chosen once again to support the European Union's space objectives, and to contribute to programs designed to protect our planet and support sustainable development. I would also like to thank the European Commission for entrusting us again with a key mission. Thanks to our family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, all operational from the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace guarantees Europe independent access to space."