Sentinels to protect our Planet: the Copernicus era begins

In 2014, one of the most ambitious European programs ever kicks off. The new episode of the cycle "A Space Story".

12 July 2021

A shift in perspective, much like the one that led Nicolaus Copernicus to enunciate his heliocentric model in 1543.

When Sentinel-1A lifted off from the launch pad of the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana, it was already clear that the Copernicus programme, coordinated by the European Commission, would represent a breakthrough in the fight to protect the Earth.

That infrastructure that, just as happened with Galileo, did not belong to any state but to the European Union as a whole. 

Six families of satellites, "Sentinels" in fact, with the aim of studying the planet, monitor the most fragile areas such as seas and glaciers, obtain data on changes taking place and allow timely interventions in case of emergencies. No country has ever realized an Earth observation program so ambitious and complete.

Artist view of Sentinel-1 (Credits: ESA)

Telespazio stands out as one of the main industrial partners of the program.

The company contributes to the development of the ground segment and operations; it operates (through its subsidiaries e-GEOSGAF and Telespazio UK) in emergency management, land and maritime security, land resource management and climate change monitoring; it provides the Copernicus program with Earth observation data from the COSMO-SkyMed and IRS missions.

In particular, since 2012 the e-GEOS Matera Space Center is one of the three stations of the Copernicus Core Ground Segment and receives radar and optical data acquired by the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions.

An aerial view of the Matera Space Center.

Today, the data from the Copernicus constellation are essential to the construction of the Digital Twin Earth, a predictive model that thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning will be able to prevent natural disasters and assess the impact of environmental policies even before they are implemented.

The next step towards a sustainable future.

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