On Friday, the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched its highly advanced Sentinel-5P satellite into space. The satellite was launched aboard a modified Rockot missile from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia.

According to ESA, the Sentinel-5P deployed its solar panels quickly after being separated from the upper stage booster. The first signals from Sentinel-5P were received 90 minutes after launch when the satellite passed over the Kiruna station in Sweden, confirming that the spacecraft had successfully reached its intended orbit.

ESA’s Copernicus project

Weighing 820 kg, Sentinel-5P (or Sentinel 5 Precursor) is the sixth satellite in the series of spacecrafts created and launched by the ESA under its Copernicus project. Other satellites that were earlier launched are already offering insights into Earth-related aspects and providing optical imagery of different oceans and ice sheets in the world.

In total, the European Union plans to invest more than 8 billion euros for Copernicus program until 2020.

Sentinel-5P will become operational after a series of system checks

Sentinel-5P will be positioned 512 miles (824 km) above the surface of Earth, according to Reuters. It will become fully operational after a series of system checks that are expected to take about six months to complete.

The satellite will make nearly 20 million observations daily to monitor various polluting gases and aerosol particles—including methane, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and formaldehyde—present in the Earth’s troposphere. Presently, NASA's Aura is the only satellite in space, which is measuring global Air Pollution.

This satellite was launched in 2004 and has already spent 13 years in space. Aura was actually designed to work for six years in space, a report by Space.com stated.

The ESA’s satellite will use Tropomi (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) to trace gases globally every 24 hours. Tropomi, with a resolution of 4 by 2 miles, was developed by a Dutch group, led by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Investigation of the Earth’s ozone layer

The data received from Seninel-5P will also allow researchers to investigate holes in the Earth’s ozone layer. ESA will also provide this data to users worldwide for analysis.

Sentienl-5P's mission will be controlled by German scientists who will monitor satellite's systems and ensure its proper functioning.