Sentinel-2A Bus Arrives in Germany for Final Assembly

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Astrium said Nov. 30 that the spacecraft platform for the first of two Sentinel-2 remote-sensing craft it is building for the European Space Agency (ESA) has been delivered to the company’s satellite assembly plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where it will spend the next two years being outfitted with its instruments and undergoing testing.

The pre-integrated spacecraft platform, or bus, was constructed by Astrium engineers at EADS Casa Espacio in Madrid. It was delivered to Germany equipped with its propulsion system, heat shield and complete wiring harness, according to an Astrium press release.

Sentinel-2A, the first of two Sentinel-2 optical-imaging satellites ESA is developing for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program, is expected to weigh 1.1 metric tons when it is launched in 2013 into a sun-synchronous polar orbit.

In 2015, ESA will launch Sentinel-2B into the same orbit where the twin craft are expect to operate for at least seven years delivering imagery of all land surfaces and coastal zones every five days in cloud free conditions.

Sentinel-2 Program Manager Heinz Sontag said in a statement that Sentinel-2A will be the first Earth observation satellite capable of gathering imagery of all land masses around the globe within no more than 10 days.

“It records optical data on 13 spectral channels, ranging from visible light to near infrared, from which a wealth of biophysical and geophysical information can be derived and converted into maps for numerous applications,” Sontag said

Each Sentinel-2 satellite will be equipped with a multispectral imager capable of viewing a 290-kilometer swath of the Earth’s surface in 10-to-60-meter spatial resolution.