On June 23, 2015, Arianespace conducted successful launch of Vega launcher with Sentinel-2A Earth and ocean observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit from Vega Launch Complex (SLV) at Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana.
On the 5th Vega mission from Guiana Space Center, and the 5th overall flight performed from this equatorial launch site in 2015, Arianespace orbited the Sentinel-2A satellite – part of Europe's Copernicus Earth observation program – on behalf of the European Commission within the scope of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Copernicus, the European Commission's second space program, following Galileo, is the new name for the program formerly known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security). The aim of the Copernicus program is to give Europe continuous, independent and reliable access to Earth observation data. It covers a vast spectrum of missions that will enable this continent to better control and protect the environment, and to enhance understanding of the underlying phenomena in climate change.
ESA's Sentinel program comprises five satellite families: Sentinel-1 (launched on April 3, 2015, atop a Soyuz-ST), to provide continuity for radar data from ERS and Envisat; Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3, dedicated to observation of the Earth and its oceans; and Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5, dedicated to meteorology and climatology, with a focus on studying the composition of the Earth's atmosphere.
Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor of Sentinel-2A. The satellite weighs about 1,130 kg. at launch and is fit with a high resolution multispectral optical payload, and a very wide swath.
Sentinel-2A mission was 46th spacecraft orbited by Arianespace for such Earth science applications, and the 112th satellite the company has lofted that was manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space.