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European satellite designed to monitor air pollution launched

World News | Published:

Sentinel-5P will map trace gases including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, methane and carbon monoxide that affect the climate.

A European satellite designed to monitor levels of air pollution from space has been launched into orbit.

Sentinel-5P, weighing 820kg, took off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia carried by a Rockot launcher.

It is one of half a dozen Sentinel satellites that are central to the European Space Agency’s (Esa) £6 billion Copernicus Earth observation programme.

Sentinel-5P will map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide that affect health and climate.

Josef Aschbacher, Esa’s director of earth observation programmes, said: “Having Sentinel-5P in orbit will give us daily and global views at our atmosphere with a precision we never had before.

“Our historic data records, together with the long-term perspective of the Copernicus satellite programme, opens the doors for generating datasets spanning decades – a prerequisite to understanding our ever-changing Earth.”

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