The first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere, Sentinel‑5P, has been launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.
The 820 kg satellite was carried into orbit on a Rockot launcher at 09:27 GMT (11:27 CEST) today.
The first stage separated 2 min 16 sec after liftoff, followed by the fairing and second stage at 3 min 3 sec and 5 min 19 sec, respectively. The upper stage then fired twice, delivering Sentinel-5P to its final orbit 79 min after liftoff.
After separating from the upper stage, Sentinel-5P deployed its three solar panels and began communications with Earth. The first signal was received 93 min after launch as the satellite passed over the Kiruna station in Sweden.
Telemetry links, command and control were then established by controllers at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing them to monitor the health of the satellite.
The launch and the early orbit phase will last three days, during which controllers will check the satellite’s key systems and configure it for flight in space.
Following this, a commissioning phase will check all elements of the satellite’s systems and the main instrument will be decontaminated. Once completed after a few weeks, the cooler door will be opened and the calibration and validation of Sentinel-5P’s main Tropomi instrument will be performed.
The mission is expected to begin full operations six months from now.