Satellite boosts Europe's environmental, border surveillance

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A satellite due to be launched into orbit Tuesday will boost Europe's ability to monitor environmental changes and provide early warning of possible migrant flows.

The European Space Agency says Sentinel-3A is one of more than a dozen satellites that will make up the most sophisticated Earth observation system ever launched.

Two satellites already in orbit are equipped with radar and high-resolution cameras, to which Sentinel-3A will add sophisticated instruments for measuring sea and surface temperatures.

Josef Aschbacher, who oversees the Earth observation program, says the satellite will be able to spot upcoming droughts and even identify spots where people may be gathering to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Finding ways to slow the influx of migrants and prevent mass drownings at sea has become a priority for European countries.