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Launch of Sentinel-5P satellite

The satellite Sentinel 5P was launched by the Russian base of Plesetsk. Sentinel 5p is the first satellite in the world to provide a complete map of pollutants in the atmosphere, locating the source.

It is the sixth ‘sentinel’ of the planet of Copernicus program, created by the collaboration between the European Commission and the European Space Agency (Esa). The launch was greeted with an applause from the Esa Center for Science and Technology in Holland, Noordwijk. The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus programme. This unique environmental monitoring programme is providing a step change in the way we view and manage our environment, understand and tackle the effects of climate change and safeguard everyday lives.

Sentinel-5 Precursor – also known as Sentinel-5P – is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. The satellite carries the state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and our climate.

With a swath width of 2600 km, it will map the entire planet every day. Information from this new mission will be used through the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service for air quality forecasts and for decision-making. The mission will also contribute to services such as volcanic ash monitoring for aviation safety and for services that warn of high levels of UV radiation, which can cause skin damage. In addition, scientists will also use the data to improve our knowledge of important processes in the atmosphere related to the climate and to the formation of holes in the ozone layer.

Sentinel-5P was developed to reduce data gaps between the Envisat satellite – in particular the Sciamachy instrument – and the launch of Sentinel-5, and to complement GOME-2 on MetOp. In the future, both the geostationary Sentinel-4 and polar-orbiting Sentinel-5 missions will monitor the composition of the atmosphere for Copernicus Atmosphere Services. Both missions will be carried on meteorological satellites operated by Eumetsat. Until then, the Sentinel-5P mission will play a key role in monitoring and tracking air pollution.

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