Stunning Image of the Arctic is the First Back From Europe's Latest Satellite

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The European Space Agency launched its latest satellite at the start of the week, and it’s already beaming back beautiful images like this one.

The Sentinel-1B satellite was launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on April 25th. Once in orbit, it had to unfurl a 12-metre radar system and a pair of nine-metre solar wings. Then, finally, it could get to business.

Just yesterday it sent this first image back to Earth. The picture shows a just a little under 150 miles of the Barents Sea across its width. At the bottom, you can see the the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

Sentinel-1B joins its sibling Sentinel-1A in orbit. Over time, 1B will align its orbit so that it’s on the exact other side of Earth to 1A, so that the pair can image the environment—whether its vegetation health or natural disasters—on the surface of the planet. [ESA]