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Sentinel-1A satellite launched with 12 Airborne panels on-board

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(4 April 2014)

Sentinel-1A satellite was launched yesterday from the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. While entering into its low earth-orbit, both solar-array wings were successfully deployed and directed to face towards the sun.


Sentinel-1A solar-array wing during on-ground deployment test (photo courtesy of Dutch Space)

Airborne panels on-board

The complete solar-array system was designed, assembled and tested by Dutch Space in Leiden. The manufacturing of the twelve solar panel substrates on-board of Sentinel-1A was subcontracted to Airborne Aerospace. This production contract is part of a long-term business relation that started in 2007, which resulted in more than 160 panels delivered to date for several satellite programs including Galileo FOC.

About five hours after launch, the panels on the Sentinel 1A were successfully deployed, as demonstrated by this picture, taken by the on-board camera of the Satellite.

About Sentinel-1

Sentinel-1A is the first satellite in Europe’s vast Copernicus Earth Observation program (previously known as GMES), of ESA in partnership with the European Commission. The program’s goal is to ensure European independence in the acquisition and management of environmental data concerning our planet, to support European authorities and policy-makers. It is part of the Sentinel-1 mission, along with the Sentinel-1B satellite, to be launched subsequently around 2016.

The Sentinel-1 satellites weigh about 2,300 kg at launch, and will be placed in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 700 km. The radar resolution varies between 5 and 25 meters, depending on the operating mode. Data from Sentinel-1 will be collected by various European receiving centres.