Named Sentinel-5P, the spacecraft successfully launched at 10.27am United Kingdom time from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome - a Russian spaceport 500 miles (800km) north of Moscow.
The European Space Agency's Sentinel-5P satellite is hoisted up onto its Rocket launch vehicle at Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome ahead of a planned October 13, 2017, launch.
The Sentinel-5P satellite is designed for a mission life of about seven years but carries enough fuel to last a decade, ESA officials said.
The satellite-carried by a Rokot, derived from the former Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile-left behind billows of yellow smoke amid an autumnal landscape of boreal forest, footage showed.
Information from the mission will be used through the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service for air quality forecasts, and the data will be free of charge and open to users worldwide.
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The Europeans - "foreigners', as they are saying in London - they are there in the island, and so many British friends are here".
It is the first satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth's atmosphere for Europe's Copernicus monitoring project.
The EU with the help of the European space Agency is developing a constellation of satellites as part of its Copernicus program. Other Earth-observing Sentinel satellites launched earlier provide radar and optical imagery of the Earth, and monitor the condition of the world's oceans and ice sheets.
The satellite will map the global atmosphere every day, helping study air pollution.
A recent report estimated that more than 400,000 people die prematurely in Europe alone because of air pollution.
The Copernicus programme is named after the 16th-century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who determined that the Earth orbited the sun, and not the other way round.