Sentinels A Spot

Sentinel series


Delivering the marine and atmospheric composition missions for Copernicus.

Sentinels A Spot
Sentinels A Spot

The Sentinel series of satellites and instruments provide a vital contribution to Europe’s Copernicus Earth monitoring system.

Last Updated

22 September 2023

Published on

16 April 2020

EUMETSAT is responsible for operating the Copernicus Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 ocean monitoring satellites and will also operate and deliver products from the Sentinel-4, and Sentinel-5 instruments on board Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) and Metop - Second Generation (Metop-SG), respectively.


Artist's impression of Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite in orbit.

The Copernicus Sentinel-3A and -3B satellites collect observations of global ocean coloursea surface temperature and sea surface height. EUMETSAT’s role is to operate the satellites, in cooperation with ESA, and deliver the marine data on behalf of the EU. ESA delivers the land data.


Artist's impression of Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 provides global sea surface height observations for climate monitoring and ocean and seasonal forecasts continuing a time series of mean sea level rise dating back to 1992.

The altimetry instruments also provide measurements of wind speed at the ocean surface and significant wave height.

Other instruments on board the satellite collect high resolution vertical profiles of temperature, using the GNSS Radio Occultation sounding technique, to assess temperature changes in the troposphere and stratosphere and to support Numerical Weather Prediction.

The mission is co-funded by the European Commission, the European Space Agency, EUMETSAT and the USA, through NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Sentinel-4 and 5 instruments

The Sentinel-4 instrument, on board MTG, will monitor air quality over Europe every hour at high spatial resolution, while Sentinel-5, on board Metop-SG, will monitor global air quality and climate-related trace gases and aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Contributing missions

EUMETSAT also delivers products to Copernicus from a number of contributing missions that include our Metop and Meteosat satellites, Jason-3, and international partner missions.

Facts and figures

    • Sentinel-4

      • Launch date: Early 2024 (on board MTG S1)
      • Position: TBC
      • Services: Air quality
    • Sentinel-5

      • Launch date: Early 2024 (on board Metop-SG A1)
      • Position: TBC
      • Services: Atmospheric monitoring
    • Sentinel-6B

      • Launch date: Q4 2025
      • Position: TBC
      • Services:

The Earth observation satellites which provide the data used by the Copernicus services are split into two groups of missions: the Sentinels and the Contributing Missions.

EUMETSAT is responsible for operating the Sentinel-3 satellites and delivering the marine mission, as well as operating and delivering products from the future Sentinel-4 instrument on board the MTG satellites and the Sentinel-5 instrument, on board the ESP-SG satellites, and the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellites. EUMETSAT also operates the Copernicus contributing mission, Jason-3, and distributes data from other contributing missions operated by international agencies.


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