A European environmental satellite designed to monitor Earth’s oceans, lakes and vegetation lifted off Wednesday aboard a modified Russian ballistic missile originally built to carry nuclear warheads. The mission launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome around 500 miles north of Moscow at 1757:51 GMT (1:57:51 p.m. EDT).
Josef Aschbacher, head of ESA’s Earth observation programs, recently spoke with Spaceflight Now about the importance of the Sentinel 5P satellite mission designed for air quality measurements from space, and discussed increasing data usage from Europe’s Copernicus environmental network, and plans to expand the flagship Earth observation fleet.
A modified Russian missile built for nuclear war blasted off on a peaceful mission Friday, targeting placement of a European Earth observation satellite in orbit to measure atmospheric chemistry and global air quality. Liftoff from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia occurred at 0927 GMT (5:27 a.m. EDT).