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Sentinel-1 spreads its wings

21 February 2014

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When Sentinel-1 is placed in orbit around Earth in a few weeks, it has to perform a complicated dance routine to unfold its large solar wings and radar antenna. Engineers have recently been making sure the moves are well rehearsed.

Sentinel-1 is the first in a family of satellites built specifically to provide a stream of timely data for Europe's ambitious Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.

It carries an advanced radar instrument to image Earth's surface through cloud and rain, regardless of whether it is day or night.

Delivering vital information for numerous operational services, from monitoring ice in the polar oceans to tracking land subsidence, Sentinel-1 is set to play a key role in the largest civil Earth-observation programme ever conceived.

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