The British-built Sentinel-5P satellite, which could saves thousands of deaths caused by pollution, has been launched in to orbit today.
There were cheers at the European Space Agency’s technical hub in the Netherlands when the £50 million satellite successfully communicated with Earth at 12.01pm UK time.
The satellite has been nine years in planning and was built at the Airbus factory in Stevenage. It will now provide rapid accurate pollution data which could prevent thousands of early deaths each year by tracking deadly smog clouds.
There was a hushed silence as the Sentinel-5P was launched at 10.27am UK time from a remote location in northern Russia on a missile built to carry a nuclear warhead.
There then followed around an hour and a half when space scientists had no way of knowing where the unmanned aircraft was, and if it was on track to successfully enter the Earth’s orbit.