Europe’s pollution monitoring satellite Sentinel-5 Precursor has left Airbus’ Stevenage site and is on its way to the launch site, the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. Launch is currently planned on 9 October on a Rockot rocket.
The journey that will last 5 days, will start with a flight to Moscow aboard an Antonov 124, followed by another flight to Archangelsk in the northwest of Russia. The last leg of the journey will be a train ride taking the satellite 200km south of Archangelsk to the Russian spaceport of Plesetsk.
Sentinel-5 Precursor is part of the global monitoring programme “Copernicus”, a joint European Commission–ESA undertaking which aims to acquire continuous and accurate Earth observation data and provide services to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
Sentinel-5 Precursor will provide essential atmospheric chemistry data to the Copernicus programme before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational in 2021 on the MetOp Second Generation satellite.
Airbus was prime for Sentinel-5 Precursor, with three sites involved in development and manufacturing of the satellites and its components: Stevenage (UK - prime), Toulouse (France) and Friedrichshafen (Germany). The TROPOMI instrument was built by Airbus Netherlands.