The European Space Agency is launching the first of six satellites for a new system designed to better monitor climate change, environmental disasters and catastrophes like floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
The Sentinel 1A satellite is due to be launched from French Guiana later Thursday. The other five observation satellites will be put into orbit over the coming years.
The satellites will collect data and then share it with their ground stations for immediate distribution where it is needed.
As of next year, they will be able to relay data through a stationary space-based hub - meaning that the data can be sent to ground stations in the right place almost immediately even if the satellite is on the other side of the world.
Source: Associated Press