Copernicus Sentinel-5P shines first light on air pollution


Launched into orbit on 13 October, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has delivered its first images of air pollution. To mark this important milestone, ESA, the European Commission and the German Aerospace Centre DLR invite media representatives to an exclusive viewing of these tantalising first results, which surpass expectations.

The event, which will also include explanations about how the mission works and how it is set to benefit weather forecasting and monitoring air quality around the world, will be held at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich on 1 December. The media will also have the opportunity to conduct interviews.

Sentinel-5 Precursor – or Sentinel-5P for short – is the sixth Copernicus Sentinel satellite. It carries the most advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer to date: Tropomi. This state-of-the-art instrument will map pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols, all of which affect the air we breathe and our climate.

Since the satellite was launched, the instrument has been going through a planned decontamination process. Now, however, the door that kept Tropomi sealed for this purpose has been opened, allowing light to enter and the first images to be taken.

Even at this early stage in the mission’s life, these first results exceed expectations. These exciting new images offer a taster of what’s in store once it has been fully commissioned for the task of mapping the entire planet every day with unprecedented accuracy, to take air-quality forecasting to a new level.


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