The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a launch contract with Arianespace for the launch Sentinel-1B, part of the joint ESA/EU Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.
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 Sinnamary site of the Guiana Space Centre. 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.