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PARIS, April 04, /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rocket with a European satellite Sentinel-1A has been successfully launched from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on the night from Thursday to Friday. This is already a seventh launch of Russian space rockets from the spacepor in South America.
By means of the Fregat-MT booster, developed at the Lavochkin research and production association, the satellite with a weight of 2.2 tonnes, is being delivered to a low sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 693 km. The spacecraft has been developed, made and tested by the French Thales Alenia Space Corporration over a period of 12 years.
The Sentinel 1A is the first satellite of the environmental monitoring programme Copernicus, which is being implmented by the European Space Agency (ESA). Space research engineers at ESA emphasize that the launch of this satellite signifies the advent of a new era in the monitoring of the Earth from space, ensuring a continuous acquisition of data that are necessary for the protection of the environment, which meets common interests.
The satellite is designed for an uninterrupted provision of highly accurate data in any weather conditions for a day-to-day monitoring of oceans, including information on the scope of oilspills, and marine glaciers. It is capable of observing maritime transportation zones, as well as controlling the vegerable cover, the movement of shelf glaciers and continental ice shields.
The spacecraft will also make it posxible tomonitor naturar calamities and support humanitarian aid operations.
The Sentinel-1A is fitted out with a research radar which developed by the Airbus Defence and Space and is intended for the satellite's operation for at least seven years.
It is planned that a Sentinel-1B will be launched 18 months from now. All in all, under this project of the ESA, seven missions have been plannned out, with certain research instrumentation being launched during each of them. Specifically, the Sentinel-1A is carrying a scientific radar; the Sentinel-2 will carry optico-electronic equipment; the Sentinel-3 will have apparatus for the monitoring of oceans; Sentinel-4 and 5 will carry insturmentation to monitor the atmosphere and acquisition of data for weather forecasts. It is planned that that all the seven missions will cover the entire spectrum of scientific monitoring of the Earth.
Satellites-aided data will be provided free of charge for free use. The satellite will beam them at several European communications centres at once.
The Copernicus is a second joint space research programme of the European Union and the ESA following the navigation system Galileo project.
The project for the launch of Soyuz space rockets from Kourou is being implemented under the provisions of an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and France, signed in November 2003. Another three launches of Soyuz space rockets from Kourou have been planned until the end of this year.
The ArianeSpace Corporation, which is a co-founder of the Starsem Company, which promotes the Russian space technlogy on the international market, emphasizes, "The Soyuz rocket is a reliable, effective and profitable carrier applicable for a broad spectrum of programmes both the deployment of spacecraft into low-Earth orbits and for directing their flights to Mars or Venus. The service record of the Russian Soyuz rockets remains unsurpassed as of now".