Europe's Copernicus program successfully sent a fifth satellite into orbit this week.
The Copernicus program has already proven useful, saving lives at sea, improving response time to natural disasters and allowing farmers to manage crops more efficiently. As one example, the EU Copernicus Emergency mapping service helped create damage-assessment maps for areas affected by earthquakes in central Italy, according to an announcement.
With the newest satellite, Copernicus can create a high-resolution image of the entire Earth in five days; this process used to take 10 days. This greatly improves the effectiveness and usefulness of mapping of current conditions.
Copernicus also shows areas of toxic algae blooms in the water, which helps determine problem areas. Access to data is free and open, which has created new jobs for businesses utilizing collected data.
European Copernicus program launches fifth satellite to map conditions on Earth