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Turning up the heat on Europe's first Sentinel

15 July 2013

The first satellite for Europe's new environmental monitoring programme is being put through some pretty harsh treatment to make sure that it can cope with the huge temperature changes as it orbits Earth.

Satellite technology may appear delicate and complex, but not only does it have to survive the demands of launch but it also has to endure extremely hostile conditions in space.

Typically, satellites orbiting Earth are subject to temperatures as low as -265°C when facing deep space and as high as 200°C when in sunlight.

Since technology can generally function much better within temperatures of about 10-40°C, a variety of methods such as multilayer insulation, heaters and radiators are used to keep them within this range.

With the launch of ESA's Sentinel-1A early next year, now is the time to ensure that the craft is fit and ready to accomplish its mission.

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