The Sentinel-2B optical satellite is the second of its type from Airbus Defense and Space, providing the “Color Vision” of Europe’s Earth observation program Copernicus, a joint project of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). In the coming months, the completed satellite will undergo a series of environmental tests at ESA’s research and technology centre ESTEC, Noordwijk (The Netherlands), to determine its readiness for flight.
The Sentinel-2 mission, designed and built by a consortium of around 60 companies led by Airbus Defense and Space, is based on a constellation of two identical satellites flying in the same orbit, 180° apart for optimal coverage and data delivery. Together they image all Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waters every five days at the equator. Sentinel-2A was launched on 23 June 2015, its twin, Sentinel-2B, will follow early next year.
The Sentinel-2 satellites deliver optical images from the visible-near infrared to short-wave infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum using a total of 13 spectral bands with a spatial resolution of 10, 20 or 60 meters and a swath width of 290 km. Sentinel-2 is dedicated to monitor land use and management, soil sealing, forest and crops. It may also be used to observe natural disasters like floods, forest fires, landslides, and coastal erosion to support ground humanitarian aid.
The Sentinel-1 and -2 satellites are equipped with the Tesat-Spacecom’s laser communication terminal. The SpaceDataHighway is being implemented within a Public-Private Partnership between ESA and Airbus Defense and Space.