Sentinel-3 is a dedicated Copernicus satellite delivering a variety of high-quality ocean measurements.
The mission's main objective in support to the Marine Environment is to determine parameters such as sea-surface topography, sea-surface temperature and ocean-surface colour. It provides two day global coverage Earth observation data (with two satellites) for sea and land applications with real-time products delivered in less than three hours.
Requirements of the mission include:
- Sea surface topography (SSH) and, significant wave height (SWH) over the global ocean to an accuracy and precision exceeding that of Envisat RA-2.
- Sea surface temperature (SST) determined globally to an equivalent accuracy and precision as that presently achieved by A/ATSR (i.e. <0.3 K), at a spatial resolution of 1 km.
- Visible and Thermal Infrared radiances ('Ocean Colour') for oceanic and coastal waters, determined to an equivalent level of accuracy and precision as MERIS data with complete Earth coverage in two to three days, and co-registered with SST measurements.
The first Sentinel-3 satellite (Sentinel-3a) was launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in Russia, on 16 February 2016. The second spacecraft, Sentinel-3b is due to be launched in 2017, so they will work together to provide maximum coverage.
Sentinel-3 is part of a series of Sentinel satellites, under the umbrella of the Copernicus programme, which will take a continuous 'health check' on the planet. As part of Copernicus, EUMETSAT will be responsible for the operation of Sentinel-3 (marine), 4 and 5. ESA will be responsible for the operation of Sentinels 1, 2 and 3 (land).
First images from Sentinel-3A
- First Sentinel-3A image, from Ocean and Land Colour instrument, captured at 14:09 UTC on 29 February 2016, showing the transition from day to night over Svalbard, Norway. Credit: Copernicus data, 2016. Download full resolution.
- One of the early Sentinel-3A images, from Ocean and Land Colour instrument, captured at 17:44 UTC on 29 February 2016, showing California, Arizona and Mexico. Credit: Copernicus data, 2016. Download full resolution.
- The image was taken by the satellite's Ocean and Land Colour Instrument on 1 March 2016 and clearly shows the Strait of Gibraltar between the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Credit: Copernicus data, 2016. Download full resolution.
- Visible images from Sentinel-3A's Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), 3 March 2016 11:23 UTC, featuring the Canary Islands, Madeira and north Africa. Credit: Copernicus data (2016). Download full resolution
- The SLSTR visible image showing a crack over Antarcticaacquired on 3 March 2016 at 11:53 UTC. Credit: Copernicus data (2016).Download full resolution
- Visible image from Sentinel-3A's Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR). Acquired 2 March 10:04 UTC, showing a large part of Europe (vegetated areas in red). Credit: Copernicus data (2016). Download full resolution
- Sea level track measured by Sentinel-3A’s Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter immediately after it was switched on. Credit: Copernicus data (2016)/CMEMS. Download full resolution
- These first tracks from Sentinel-3A's Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter show significant wave height. Credit: Copernicus data (2016). Download full resolution