The biggest ever Earth observation project will begin in the near future.
Built in French Guiana, the Sentinel-1a spacecraft and a fleet of other satellites will be launched into orbit. Their function is to collect and return masses of data about the state of Earth, climate change and natural disaster monitoring.
The programme has so far cost £6.2 billion (€7.5 billion) and is officially titled ‘Copernicus: The European Earth Observation Programme’.
This is the EU’s and the ESA’s (European Space Agency) second major space project after the, still in construction, Galileo satellite.