Sentinel-2A: ESA’s latest satellite launched
The European Space Agency (ESA) recently launched their latest environmental monitoring satellite, Sentinel-2A, adding high-resolution optical imaging capability to the radar imagery provided by the first satellite in the Copernicus fleet, Sentinel-1A. Tasked with combining wide swaths and short revisit times (5-day cycle), Sentinel-2A will monitor land and vegetation change to deliver a range of data products including land cover maps and indices for a number bio-geophysical variables. Although the commissioning phase will last for about three months, Sentinel-2A has already recorded its first images.
Once operational, Sentinel-2A’s imagery will be hosted on the Sentinels Scientific Data Hub, which will be upgraded shortly to accommodate the new satellite. The data will be available on a ‘free and open’ basis to any users registered with the data hub. Although the data will be made publicly available, they will not be in the public domain and remain the intellectual property of Copernicus Programme. However, subject to the ESA’s terms and conditions, users are free to user, alter, modify, publish and distribute the data. Judging by the first data samples, Sentinel-2A’s imagery will provide an invaluable resource for global environmental monitoring.