Sentinel-1B, a key Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite of the ESA/EU Copernicus Earth observation and monitoring programme, has failed in orbit. On 23 December, its C-band SAR Interferometric radar mission for environmental monitoring was shut down after a power systems fault knocked out the main and back-up power supply to the radar’s antenna. Thus, while the spacecraft was still alive, the key part of its mission has failed. It was confirmed on 10 January by ESA, which operates the spacecraft, that attempts at recovery had not been successful to date but that these would carry on for the time being.
The Thales Alenia Space (TAS)-built spacecraft was launched on 25 April 2016 as the sister spacecraft to the Sentinel 1A spacecraft, which was also built by TAS and is operating satisfactorily in orbit over seven years after its launch in 2014. Both spacecraft had planned lifespans of just over seven years and are due to be replaced by Sentinel 1C and Sentinel 1D spacecraft.