Europe moves step closer to have its own U.S.’ GPS equivalent

The European Space Agency's (ESA's) recently launched environmental satellite called "Sentinel-1A" ) is a part of the Copernicus Programme that aims to provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to enhance the management of environment, understand & mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as to ensure civil security.

The Copernicus Programme is a joint initiative by ESA and the European Commission (EC), and the successful deployment of the Sentinel-1A satellite is the first major step in a series of planned missions under this programme.

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said, "Sentinel-1A opens a new page in the implementation of Copernicus.. The Copernicus Programme will provide European citizens with the most ambitious space-based services in the world for environmental and security applications."

Sentinel-1A is one of the two satellites that will make system that will provide uninterrupted imagery of land as well as water surfaces of Europe, Canada as well as the polar caps with a very short time-lag through C-band radar. The recently launched satellite will be joined by Sentinel-1B in the future.

The Copernicus Programme, which has a budget of 8.4 billion euro, is going to be Europe's version of the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS). India, on last Friday, launched IRNSS 1-B satellite - the second of seven satellites that the Asian country has planned to launch to crate its own version of the US' GPS. Russia and China already have their own GPS-equivalents called GLONASS and Beidou, respectively.