Radar satellite launched for Copernicus

May 3rd, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

Copernicus Sentinel-3B was launched on 25 April 2018, joining its identical twin Sentinel-3A in orbit. This pairing of satellites increases coverage and data delivery for the European Union’s Copernicus environment programme.  The mission is expected to begin routine operations after five months.

Carrying a precision radar altimeter, an advanced infrared radiometer and a wide-swath ocean and land imaging spectrometer, Sentinel-3 delivers critical data on the height and temperature of the sea surface.

Carrying a precision radar altimeter, an advanced infrared radiometer and a wide-swath ocean and land imaging spectrometer, Sentinel-3 delivers critical data on the height and temperature of the sea surface.

“This is the seventh launch of a Sentinel satellite in the last four years. It is a clear demonstration of what European cooperation can achieve and it is another piece to operating the largest Earth observation programme in the world, together with our partners from the European Commission and Eumetsat,” said ESA Director General Jan Wörner.

Copernicus relies on the Sentinels and contributing missions to provide data for monitoring the environment and for supporting civil security activities. Sentinel-3 carries a series of sensors to do just that. Over oceans, it measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used, for example, to monitor changes in the Earth’s climate and for applications such as marine pollution. Over land, this mission monitors wildfires, maps land use and vegetation health and measures the height of rivers and lakes.

Data from the Copernicus Programme are used worldwide and are free of charge. According to ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, the constellation also offers opportunities for commercial companies to develop new innovative services.

Contact ESA, www.esa.int