ESA video captures Sentinel 1A's dramatic ride atop Soyuz rocket
By Anthony Wood
April 10, 2014
ESA has released compelling video footage displaying the ascent of its Sentinel 1A satellite as viewed from external cameras mounted on the upper stage of its Soyuz Fregat launch vehicle. The video features footage of each separation, culminating in the penultimate stage of the launch which later succeeded in pushing the satellite into orbit.
The Sentinel 1A satellite is a weather imaging device, recording day and night via radar as it progresses along a polar aligned orbit. It was designed by ESA as one cog of the much larger Copernicus program.
The Copernicus mission is currently divided into six constellations of Sentinel satellites. The constellations will be comprised of two satellites working in tandem, operating on the same orbital trail. Each Sentinel satellite will be equipped with a unique sensor suit, geared towards a different aspect of earth observation. The overriding goal of the mission is to aid in the management of the environment and observe the effects of climate change on a global scale while contributing to relief and conservation efforts.
The 2300 kg Sentinel 1A satellite was launched into space atop a Soyuz rocket from Europe's Kourou Spaceport, French Guiana, on April 3. The footage features the Soyuz rocket's separations, culminating in the third stage and Fregat intermediate bay separation.
The final seconds of the video captures the Fregat engine ignition, which soon after succeeded in pushing the satellite into a Sun-synchronous orbit 639 km above the surface of the Earth.