Campaign to launch Sentinel-2B begins

The second Sentinel-2 satellite, Sentinel-2B, has arrived at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Here, engineers will prepare it for liftoff, which is planned for 7 March at 02:49 CET (6 March 22:49 local time).

Sentinel-2B arrives in French Guiana. (ESA)

Sentinel-2B arrives in French Guiana. (ESA)

Offering ‘colour vision’ for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, Sentinel-2 combines high-resolution, novel multispectral capabilities and a 290 km-wide swath to monitor Earth’s changing lands in unprecedented detail and accuracy.

The mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, launched separately. Sentinel-2A was launched on 23 June 2015 and soon will be joined by its twin. Orbiting  180°  apart,  they  will  cover  all  Earth’s  land  surfaces,  large  islands,  inland  and  coastal  waters  between  84°N  and  56°S  every  five  days,  optimising  global  coverage and data delivery for numerous applications.

Sentinel-2B leaves ESA-ESTEC. (ESA)

Sentinel-2B leaves ESA-ESTEC. (ESA)

The Sentinel-2B satellite left ESA’s facilities in the Netherlands on 5 January headed for Cologne–Bonn airport in Germany. Here the satellite container and supporting equipment were loaded onto an Antonov aircraft.

Team in front of satellite container. (ESA)

Team in front of satellite container. (ESA)

Teams from ESA and Airbus Defence & Space were already in Kourou ready and waiting to unload the aircraft when it arrived in the early hours of 6 January.

Sealed in its special air-conditioned transport container, the satellite was carefully unloaded along with three other containers of support equipment. A convoy of lorries then drove the precious cargo to Europe’s Spaceport near Kourou, about 60 km away.

Sentinel-2B being unloaded in French Guiana. (ESA)

Sentinel-2B being unloaded in French Guiana. (ESA)

The satellite was left in its container over the weekend, but is being opened today so that work can begin preparing it for launch.

Sentinel-2B inside airlock at Europe's spaceport. (ESA)

Sentinel-2B inside airlock at Europe's spaceport. (ESA)

Meanwhile the hydrazine and equipment needed for fuelling is being shipped by sea and due to arrive at the port of Degrad des Cannes on 11 January.

Read more about Sentinel-2: www.esa.int/sentinel2

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