The world’s biggest Earth-observation program gets underway in Europe.
The EU launched its Sentinel-1a satellite from French Guiana on April 3 as it began the rollout of its advanced fleet of Earth-monitoring satellites. Once the Sentinel-1a’s sister satellite, the 1b, is launched, the pair will be able to give radar images of anywhere on the Earth within three to six days.
They’re part of the EU’s Copernicus project which aims to give the EU an extensive view of the Earth’s surface.
“There is no Earth-observation project as big as this,” said Prof. Anne Glover, the EU’s chief scientific adviser.
We should remember that any system designed to study the Earth in detail for scientific reasons is also very useful militarily. The publicity for these launches focuses on the environment, global warming and disaster response, but the EU admits, in the small print, that these satellites have “intelligence” and even “military” applications.
“There’s no doubt that Copernicus promises exciting new applications for land management and environmental science, said Ben Hayes of the civil liberties group Statewatch. “But it’s already abundantly clear that the new system will also be used for military operations and surveillance purposes, some of which are highly controversial.”
“It’s hardly surprising that the Commission is stressing Copernicus’s green credentials—but it’s still political sugarcoating,” he added.
Once Europe’s Copernicus and Galileo satellite systems are complete, according to EU officials, they will be the most technologically advanced systems in operation.
Full article: The EU’s Covert Military Satellite Program (The Trumpet)