British-built satellite launches from Russian Federation

The satellite launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia

The satellite launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia

The European Space Agency's Sentinel-5P satellite was launched Friday by a Rokot missile from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russian Federation.

The satellite - carried by Russia's Rokot rocket, based on the former Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile - left behind billows of yellow smoke, footage broadcast by the European Space Agency showed.

The European Space Agency launched a joint UK-Dutch satellite on October 13 on a mission to monitor global air quality.

After separating from the upper stage, the satellite deployed its three solar panels and began communicating, the ESA said.

'The Sentinel-5P satellite is now safely in orbit so it is up to our mission control teams to steer this mission into its operational life and maintain it for the next seven years or more'. The first signal was received 93 minutes after launch as the satellite passed over the Kiruna station in Sweden. You can also watch the launch directly from the ESA here. The satellite will map the global atmosphere every day, helping study air pollution.

ESA director general Jan Woerner said: 'Launching the sixth Sentinel satellite for the Copernicus programme is testament to the extensive competence we have here at ESA, from its moment of conception to well into operations'. Others launched since April 2014 monitor forest cover and land and water pollution. The satellite will make 20 million observations on a daily basis, monitoring the troposphere to build maps of polluting gases as well as particles harmful for humans, such as volcanic ash or high levels of ultraviolet radiation. The spacecraft called Sentinel-5P is a contribution to the EU's Copernicus Earth monitoring program.

By mapping areas stricken by flood or quake, Copernicus will also help emergency teams identify the worst-hit areas and locate passable roads, rail lines and bridges.

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