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 40-foot radar system and a pair of 30-foot solar wings. Then, finally, it could get to business.
Just yesterday it sent this first image back to Earth. The picture shows just a little under 150 miles of the Barents Sea across its width. At the bottom, you can see 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. The pair will image the environment—whether its vegetation health or natural disasters—on the surface of the planet.