A new pollution monitoring satellite has been sent into space from Russia.
Built in the UK, the satellite began transmission with earth 93 minutes after launch, 14 minutes after its 3 solar panels had been deployed.
The Sentinel-5 Precursor, is the first satellite to be run under the air pollution monitoring Copernicus programme and carries a newly designed instrument called Tropomi (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) which will monitor the earth’s atmosphere to aid scientists understanding of the spread of major pollutants.
It has been built to bridge the gap in continuity of observations between Envisat and Sentinel-5.
The joint venture between the European Space Agency and the Netherland’s Space Agency will map gases such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and methane that are released as pollutants.
Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency Dr Graham Turnock said: “Data from the Sentinel satellites benefits the UK public sector in areas such as emergency response and flooding, farming and environmental management, air quality, marine planning and fisheries.”
“The same data is also available to companies so they can create commercial applications that help our wider economy.”
The operation is expected to be fully up to speed within 6 months.