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Sentinal-3A to launch

  • 03 Aug 2021 11:24
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Sentinels, or a fleet of satellites designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus programme, and the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date.

The unique environmental monitoring programme is making steep changes in the  managent of  the environment, understanding and tackling the effects of climate change to safeguard everyday lives. It serves European citizens, both directly through products and applications, and indirectly through social, economic and environmental benefits.

Carrying a suite of high-tech instruments, Sentinel-3 will systematically measure Earth oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. It will provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting.

The mission is based on two identical satellites orbiting in constellation for optimum global coverage and data delivery with a swath width of 1270 km, the ocean and land colour instrument will provide global coverage every two days.

Focused on oceans, Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface, as well as sea ice thickness. The measurements will be used to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity.

Over land, the innovative mission will provide a bigger picture, monitoring wildfires and mapping how land is used, to provide indices of vegetation state and measure the height of rivers and lakes – complementing the high-resolution measurements of its sister mission Sentinel-2.

Sentinel-3 will provide enhanced continuity of satellites such as Envisat and Spot, and sheer breadth of data from this new mission means it is set to be the  Copernicus workhorse.

The mission results from close collaboration between ESA, the European Commission,  Eumetsat, France’s CNES space agency, industry, service providers and data users and is a prime example of Europe’s technology excellence. The two Sentinel-3 satellites have been designed and built by a consortium of some100 companies under leadership of Thales Alenia Space, France.

Once commissioned in orbit, ESA and Eumetsat will manage the mission jointly. ESA will processes land products and Eumetsat the marine products for application through the Copernicus services. Data will be available free of charge and open to users worldwide.  After the launch of Sentinel-3A, Sentinel-3B will follow in 2017.

Learn more about Sentinel.


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