Once in space, Sentinel-2A will open its solar wing to generate the power it needs to carry out the task of monitoring Earth's vegetation. Engineers have recently made sure this move is well rehearsed before the satellite is packed up and shipped to the launch site.
This final deployment test marks the end of a six-month programme at IABG in Germany to make sure the satellite can withstand the shocks and vibrations during liftoff and that it is fit for a long working life in the harsh environment of space.
Offering 'colour vision' for the European Commission's environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, Sentinel-2A combines high-resolution and novel multispectral capabilities - a first for ESA. With a 290 km-wide coverage path and frequent revisits, Sentinel-2 will deliver views of Earth's vegetation and changing lands in unprecedented detail and accuracy.
The mission will provide information for numerous applications such as for agricultural practices and to help manage food security. Its data will be used to determine various plant indices such as leaf area index and chlorophyll content, which are important help predict crop yield.