08 March 2017 Current Affairs: The European Union (EU) on 7 March 2017 launched the fifth satellite of the Copernicus observation program from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. The Sentinel-2B satellite is a part of Sentinel Earth observation satellites, a system of satellites that monitors Earth.
This fifth Sentinel satellite will cut the time of imaging the earth by half and will ensure speedy provision of images of land, oceans and waterways. This will improve services for farmers, fishermen and other users of land and sea maps.
Now, the globe’s image will take only five days. The acceleration of the building up of the globe’s image will positively affect the activities of fishermen by allowing them to monitor the emergence of toxic algal blooms in sea.
Sentinel-2B satellite : It will join its twin Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015, to take high-resolution, color and infrared images for a wide array of environmental initiatives.
These two satellites will orbit 488 miles (786 km) above Earth on opposite sides of the planet. Together, they will cover all of Earth's land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waterways every five days.They will provide more up-to-date images and at higher resolution than the available ones.
It will help track pollution of lakes and coastal waters, monitor land changes or produce disaster maps by providing information on floods, volcanic eruptions and landslide.
Copernicus earth observation program : The Copernicus project is described by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the most ambitious Earth observation program till date. The European Union and the ESA have committed funding of more than USD 9 billion to it until 2020.
The program is aimed at improving the life of EU communities by providing near-real-time global environment data.