21 July 2017 – A UK-built satellite which will be part of Europe’s world-leading environmental monitoring programme – Copernicus – is ready for launch.
Sentinel-5 Precursor, part of a joint European Commission–ESA undertaking which aims to supply geo-information products and services based on the use of data from space, is set to leave Airbus’s site in Stevenage.
The satellite will provide essential atmospheric chemistry data to the Copernicus programme before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational in 2021 on the MetOp Second Generation satellite.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK-built Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite and the success of the Copernicus Programme demonstrates what we can achieve through collaboration with our European partners and the UK’s vital role in the programme thanks to our earth observation expertise.
“We’ve been clear that we want our companies and universities to continue participating in key EU space programmes, and through our Industrial Strategy and ongoing investment in the UK space sector, we are ensuring we have the infrastructure and skills in place to support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.
“Data from the Sentinel satellites benefits the UK public sector in areas such as emergency response or flooding; farming and environmental management; air quality; marine planning and fisheries. The same data also enables commercial applications that help our wider economy function more efficiently and effectively, growing our space sector at the same time.”
Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The whole of the Copernicus programme is a fantastic success for the UK. It has a global vision, providing near real-time measurements of Earth on an unprecedented scale.”
Andy Green, President of UKspace the industry trade association, said: “I congratulate Airbus Defence and Space on the successful build of the Sentinal-5 Precursor satellite- yet another feather in the cap of the UK space and satellite industry.
“I particularly welcome Greg Clark’s statement that the Government strongly supports continued UK participation in EU funded space programmes. This is vital for the growth of our industry and the highly skilled and high productivity jobs that we create. We have been at the forefront to of these programmes for many years and there is considerable sunk investment both financial and in skills development and jobs, which have kept the UK space industry as a vibrant and growing section of the economy and at the leading edge of a ferociously competitive global market.
“This is the exactly the strong and unequivocal support we have been seeking from Government as UK industry continues to actively bid for multi-million pound contracts from the EU.”