The ESA-developed Sentinel-2B satellite was launched today, doubling the coverage of high-resolution optical imaging in the Sentinel-2 mission for the European Union Copernicus environmental monitoring system.
The 1.1 tonne satellite was carried into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 01:49 GMT on 7 March (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time, 6 March).
After this first 'launch and early orbit' phase, which typically lasts three days, controllers will begin checking and calibrating the instruments to commission the satellite. The mission is expected to begin operations in three to four months.
"With this launch we are taking another step toward advancing the Copernicus programme, which is the most sophisticated Earth observation system in the world. And we are planning to add two more satellites to the constellation in the next months: with Sentinel-5P and Sentinel-3B," said ESA Director General Jan Woerner.