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Europe launches first environment satellite

Published on Apr 4, 2014 6:47 AM
A rocket carrying a satellite for the Defence Meteorological Satellite Programme is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Europe on Thursday launched the first in a constellation of hi-tech satellites designed to monitor Earth for climate change and environmental damage and help disaster relief operations.

Sentinel-1A, a satellite designed to scan the Earth with cloud-penetrating radar, lifted off at 2102 GMT (5am Singapore time on Friday) aboard a Soyuz rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

The 2.2-tonne satellite is the first of half a dozen orbital monitors that will be built and launched under the ¤3.786 billion (S$6.6 billion) Copernicus project, a joint undertaking of ESA and the European Union (EU).

Sentinel-1A separated from the rocket's upper stage 23 minutes and 24 seconds after launch.

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