After a long day that started at 06:32:00 with the request for authorisation to start the countdown, we continued with the well-sequenced activities for the launch pad preparation, the satellite switch-on, all the way to its launch configuration, and the Soyuz three-stage fuelling and then configuration for launch. In parallel, the guys from Centre Spatial Guyanais, CSG, have been carefully monitoring the weather, which remained find so that launch could go ahead.

Sentinel-1A has been behaving superbly while all its parameters were closely monitored, all the way to the umbilical disconnection.

Ramón Torres and team members in the Jupiter Control Room, Kourou, French Guiana. (ESA)

Ramón Torres and team members in the Jupiter Control Room, Kourou, French Guiana. (ESA)

Finally, we launched, and followed excitedly with bated breath each and every stage of Soyuz’s separation until Sentinel-1A separated from the Fregat upper stage, which has just happened.

Now, Sentinel-1A is … up there … in the dark ….  in the silence …. getting ready for years of duty.

And I, now powerless in the Jupiter Control Room in Kourou, I all of a sudden remember the ‘Night’s Watch Oath’ from George R.R. Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ – which seems so appropriate at this moment:

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

Goodbye, my friend! God’s speed, Sentinel1A!

Post from Ramón Torres, ESA’s Sentinel-1 Project Manager