Trial separation prepares for final release

30 October 2014

Sentinel-2A is in the middle of an extensive testing programme to make sure this land-monitoring satellite is fit for launch next spring. As well as being shaken and stressed, engineers have also checked that it will separate from the rocket for its life in orbit.

Sentinel-2A is the next of ESA's satellites dedicated to Europe's environmental monitoring Copernicus programme.

It carries a state-of-the art high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands which, along with the satellite's wide swath of 290 km and frequent revisit times, will provide unprecedented views of Earth's land and vegetation.

To make sure this precious new satellite reaches orbit to deliver vital information for a range of applications that include monitoring plant growth and mapping changes in land cover, it has to be thoroughly tested before it is shipped to French Guiana for launch on a Vega rocket.

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