Last night marked the end of Sentinel-2A's first three days in space, which saw teams on the ground working around the clock to ensure the spacecraft is ready for its 'colour vision' mission.
Directing flight (Credits: ESA/J. Mai - CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)
Delivery into orbit marked the start of the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), which has seen ground teams at ESOC, ESA's space operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, working to activate crucial onboard systems and ensure the spacecraft’s health in the extreme environment of space.
The mission control team dealt with several typical problems seen in any launch, including issues with a sticky valve, a star tracker and a GPS unit. These have been resolved and the satellite is now in excellent health.
"We conducted our first orbital manoeuvre using the Sentinel-2A thrusters yesterday, and this went exactly as planned," said Spacecraft Operations Manager Franco Marchese.
"Overall, this LEOP has gone very smoothly and we are well en route to achieving our reference orbit within next week."
Flight Director Pier Paolo Emanuelli reported yesterday that the Sentinel-2A LEOP phase had formally ended, with the spacecraft and ground systems all operating as expected.
"I wish to thank ...