The Sentinel-3B spacecraft rode to orbit today atop a Rockot rocket, which lifted off from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome, about 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Moscow, at 1:57 p.m. EDT (1757 GMT, 8:57 p.m. local time in Plesetsk).
The main aim of the Sentinel-3B satellite is to monitor the Earth’s ocean. Along with that it will map the vegetation growth on the earth surface and will measure the thinning ice sheets.
The Sentinel-3B was the seventh rocket that was launched by the European Union for its ambitious Copernicus mission.
About Copernicus programme:
Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
Copernicus is the new name for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, previously known as GMES.
This initiative is headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).
ESA coordinates the delivery of data from upwards of 30 satellites. The EC, acting on behalf of the European Union, is responsible for the overall initiative, setting requirements and managing the services.
Services provided by Copernicus: land management, the marine environment, atmosphere, emergency response, security and climate change.
Sentinel: ESA is developing a new family of satellites, called Sentinels, specifically for the operational needs of the Copernicus programme. The Sentinels will provide a unique set of observations, starting with the all-weather, day and night radar images.