Friday, 2 September 2016

Mid space debris

With Sentinel 1a playing such a key role in the slick feature mapping project - i have to admit a moment of panic when i saw "COPERNICUS Sentinel-1a satellite hit by space particle" in my twitter feed. It seems a particle no larger than a mm hit the solar panels on the platform. Thankfully, ESA say no major negative influence except momentary orbit problems and a slight power drain. More info here.

Sentinel 1b is up already so there is redundancy but still...


  1. How long will both sentinels be active? Are there more?? 1c?

  2. Of the top of my head I don't know the design life. But to give you an example Landsat 5 was launched in early 80s, decommissioned when 6 and 7 were launched in early 2000s. L6 was a failure and never made orbit and L7 got a problem with a scanning mirror in 2003 so all imagery after that date had problems. So L5 was brought back into action and was recording info up to 2013/2014 when L8 became fully operational. A real workhorse.

  3. Update: Design life is 7.25 year and to answer your other question, yes 1c and 1d are also planned, the contract was signed last year for their construction, although not planned forlaunch until 2021, so presumably as partial replacements for 1a and 1b.


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My name is Conor. I am a Lecturer at the Department of Geography at Maynooth University. These few lines will (hopefully) chart my progress through academia and the world of research.