Minimize What is Sentinel-3?
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Sentinel-3 is primarily an ocean mission, however, the mission will also be able to provide atmospheric and land applications. The mission will provide data continuity for the ERS, Envisat and SPOT satellites.

Sentinel-3 will make use of multiple sensing instruments to accomplish its objectives; SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer), OLCI (Ocean and Land Colour Instrument), SRAL (SAR Altimeter), DORIS, and MWR (Microwave Radiometer).

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Sentinels and FLEX join forces

26 January 2017

ESA's Fluorescence Explorer (FLEX) mission will orbit in tandem with one of the Copernicus constellation satellites. Taking advantage of Sentinel-3's optical and thermal sensors will lead to an integrated package of measurements to assess plant health. With the Sentinel-2 satellites also in orbit, there is a unique opportunity of using this data synergistically from all three missions for vegetation studies.

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Sentinel-3A measures height of Antarctic ice sheet

13 December 2016

Launched in February 2016 with a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3A is arguably the most comprehensive of all the Copernicus Sentinel missions. Since then, the satellite has been thoroughly tested and fine-tuned. This led to the release of its first Earth colour data in October and first radiometer data last month. Now, the public also have access to data from its radar altimeter.

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Launch Date:

  • Sentinel-3A - 16 February 2016
  • Sentinel-3B - Scheduled for 2017
  • Sentinel-3C - Before 2020

Operational lifepsan:
7 years (With consumables for 12)

Mission objectives:

  • Measuring sea-surface topography, sea-surface height and significant wave height
  • Measuring ocean and land-surface temperature
  • Measuring ocean and land-surface colour
  • Monitoring sea and land ice topography
  • Sea-water quality and pollution monitoring
  • Inland water monitoring, including rivers and lakes
  • Aid ocean forecasts with acquired data
  • Climate monitoring and modelling
  • Land-use change monitoring
  • Forest cover mapping
  • Fire detection
  • Weather forecasting
  • Measuring Earth's thermal radiation for atmospheric applications

Mission Orbit:

Orbit Type: Sun-synchronous
Orbit Height: 814 km
Inclination: 98.6o
Repeat Cycle: 27 days

Payload:

  • OLCI (Ocean and Land Colour Instrument)
  • SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer)
  • SRAL (Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter)
  • MWR (Microwave Radiometer)
  • DORIS
  • LRR (Laser Retroreflector)
  • GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System)

Resolution and Swath Width:

  • OLCI - 1270 km
  • SLSTR - 1420 km

Configuration:

In addition to the observation instruments, the Sentinel-3 spacecraft will carry the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and LRR (Laser Retro Reflector) instruments. GNSS will provide precise orbit determination and can track multiple satellites simultaneously. LRR will be used to accurately locate the satellite in orbit using a laser ranging system.

The dimensions of the craft are: 3.7 x 2.2 x 2.2 m with a weight (at time of launch) of 1250 kg.

Launch vehicle:

  • Rockot vehicle (Sentinel-3A)
  • Vega rocket (Sentinel-3B)

Operator: EUMETSAT

Contractors:

Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor, responsible for constructing the spacecraft and the SRAL instrument, as well as contributing to the supply of the SLSTR instrument.
Many European companies are involved in supplying the SLSTR instrument, including SELEX Galileo, RAL (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), Jena-Optronik, Thales Alenia Space, ABSL and ESA-ESTEC.
EADS CASA Espacio is contracted to provide the MWR instrument.
CNES is contracted to provide the DORIS instrument.
Eurockot and Arianespace are contracted to launch the spacecraft.