Moscow, Oct 13 (AFP) Russia today launched a European satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth’s atmosphere, the protective layer that shields the planet from the sun’s radiation, live footage from the cosmodrome showed.

The Sentinel-5P orbiter took off on time at 0927 GMT from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

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 satellite will form part of the Copernicus project, a joint initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency to track environmental damage and aid disaster relief operations.

It will be the first satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth’s atmosphere for Copernicus, and the sixth satellite to join the Copernicus constellation.

Others launched since April 2014 monitor forest cover and land and water pollution.(AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.