European meteorological satellites – MetOp series – launch
The MetOp-A, B, C is a series of three identical polar-orbiting weather satellites to provide data for weather forecasting and climate monitoring.
MetOp-A on 2006.10.19
MetOp-B from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on-board a Soyuz launcher on 17 September 2012. MetOp-A was launched in 2006.
The ESA ENVISAT satellite mission was launched on 2002.03.01 aboard an Ariane 5 from the Guyana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. This 8 tonne mission includes many important Earth observation instruments, notably MERIS & SCIAMACHY.
Sentinel-3 A was launched on a Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on 16 February 2016. It is the third satellite to be launched for Europe’s Copernicus environment monitoring programme. Designed as a two-satellite constellation – Sentinel-3A and -3B – the Sentinel-3 mission carries a series of cutting-edge instruments for observing Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere. Over oceans, Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity. Over land, this innovative mission monitors wildfires, maps the way land is used, provides indices of vegetation state and measure the height of rivers and lakes.
The second Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, Sentinel-3B, lifted off on a Rockot from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 17:57 GMT (19:57 CEST) on 25 April 2018. Sentinel-3B joins its twin, Sentinel-3A, in orbit.
Watch the Delta II rocket launching the CALIPSO – CloudSat spacecraft from Vandenberge, AFB, in 2006.
Watch the Taurus Rocket Launch Failure, transporting the first OCO instrument on 2009-02-24, from Vandenberg (California, USA). This failure was a real tragedy for the American scientific Earth Observation community as OCO was the first instrument dedicated to anthropogenic CO2 – Carbon dioxide observations at a very fine spatial resolution. The later NASA debriefing attributed the cause to the unsuccessful separation of the fairing during the ascent mode. The added mass of the fairing prevented the satellite from reaching its expected orbit. It subsequently re-entered in the atmosphere and crashed into the Indian Ocean near Antarctica. In this video, you can see the tension growing up in the NASA room with the presence of David Crisp, Principal Investigator (PI) of OCO. At the end, the NASA launch commentator declares the launch contingency and loss of the mission, and announces the implementation of the contingency plan.
Watch the launch of NASA’s OCO-2 Carbon Observatory on a Delta II Rocket from Vanderberg (California, USA) in 2014, 5 years after the tragic OCO launch failure.
Launch of the S5P mission with its state-of-the-art TROPOMI instrument, the first European Copernicus operational mission dedicated to the atmospheric composition observation. You can watch the S5P liftoff via the ESA YouTube Channel here