[Satellite TODAY 06-15-12] The European Space Agency (ESA)
has reserved a Soyuz rocket from Arianespace
to launch its Sentinel-1 radar satellite in 2013, the agency announced June 14.
ESA Spokesman Franco Bonacina said the mission should be followed by further satellite launches in 2014, despite a stall in its funding process with the European Union.
“The council has asked the executive to go ahead, to start all the activities that will make a launch possible next year, between October and the end of 2013,” Bonacina said. “We cannot wait. If we wait, we risk losing our launch slot and that could end up costing us more money. Arianespace needs a year's notice that a satellite will be ready to fly so that it can plan a launch schedule. Without a reservation being made now, Sentinel-1's flight would almost certainly be bumped to 2014.”
The ESA Sentinel satellites will engage in a wide range of land and ocean surveillance tasks, such as oil-spill monitoring and earthquake hazard assessment.