Arianespace has been awarded a launch contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) on behalf of the European Commission, to launch Sentinel-1C in the first half of 2023 on Vega-C — the satellite, weighing around 2.3 metric tons, will be placed in SSO with an altitude around 690 km.
Before Sentinel-1C satellite, both Sentinel-1A and -1B were previously launched with Arianespace in 2014 and 2016. Sentinel-1C will round out the initial capacity offered by the two preceding satellites to offer a comprehensive response to the needs for environmental and security monitoring via spaceborne radar systems. Sentinel satellites are part of the Copernicus program that is designed to give Europe continuous, independent and reliable access to EO data.
Copernicus, one of the flagships of the European Union Space Program, presently includes eight Sentinel satellites: Sentinel-1A and -1B radar imaging satellites, Sentinel-2A and -2B optical imaging satellites, Sentinel-3A and -3B for ocean and atmosphere monitoring; Sentinel-5P enables monitoring the quality of air, while Sentinel-6 is monitoring sea levels. Other Sentinels are in preparation, such as Sentinel-4, Sentinel-5 and the CO2 monitoring mission, to name a few.
ESA’s new Vega-C launcher, built by Avio as prime contractor, has been specifically upgraded to launch satellites of the class of Sentinel-1C and is perfectly suited to serve the EO market due to its performance and versatility. With Vega-C and Ariane 6, Arianespace is able to offer the best possible solutions to orbit all kind of payloads for any range of applications.
“We are very proud of this new launch contract for the European Commission and the European Space Agency; it underlines our long-standing partnership for the success of Copernicus,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace. “For Arianespace, this contract is a sign of the confidence in the Vega-C system and a strong sign of the commitment of European institutions for an autonomous access to space.”