Airbus announced that the Copernicus Sentinel-1C satellite’s radar antenna has spread its wings for the first time.

The development took place at the Airbus Integrated Technology Centre in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The 12.3m-wide synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna weighs 860kg and was fixed to a special device, simulating zero gravity conditions during the wing test.

The antenna comprises a centre panel that will be integrated with the satellite platform, along with two deployable antenna wings that each have two panels.

The wing test was conducted to ensure the accurate deployment of the wings and measure the planarity of the antenna as an indicator for the future SAR image quality.

Following this test, the Sentinel-1C will undergo acceptance test sequence of the SAR instrument. It is expected to continue until the end of October.

The antenna’s radio frequency characteristics will then be analysed before shipping the instruments to Thales Alenia Space for platform integration.

Built by Airbus Portsmouth, the SAR instrument includes a complete antenna with the antenna electronic subsystem.

The Sentinel-1C is the third of the Sentinel-1 radar satellite series and will provide data for various services offered under the EU’s Copernicus programme.

The programme is funded by the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) while Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for Sentinel-1C and its twin Sentinel-1 D.

The Copernicus Sentinel-1C is scheduled for launch in 2022.

In April, Airbus Defence and Space entered an agreement with French space agency CNES to develop an instrument for the thermal infrared imaging satellite for a high-resolution natural resource assessment (TRISHNA) system.