The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT to be the organisation responsible for exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus Space Component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate.
Sentinel-3 is a Low Earth Orbiting mission to support services relating to the global marine and land environments, with high-end accuracy and reliability in support of ocean forecasting systems and for environmental and climate monitoring.
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).
The pair of Sentinel-3 satellites will enable a short revisit time of less than two days for the Ocean and Land Colour instrument and less than one day for the Sea Land Surface Temperature instrument at the equator.
The first Sentinel-3 satellite (Sentinel-3a) was launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in Russia, on 16 February 2016. The second spacecraft, Sentinel-3b, will be launched at a later date, so they will work together to provide maximum coverage.
The Sentinel-3 mission's aim is to provide consistent, long-term collection of remotely-sensed marine and land data, of uniform quality, for operational ocean state analysis, forecasting and service provision.
The mission's main objective is to determine parameters such as sea-surface topography, sea- and land-surface temperature and ocean- and land-surface colour. Near-real time data processing and delivery will allow a broad range of Copernicus services for both the marine and land environment to continuously profit from the mission.
Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5 are atmospheric sensors which will be placed on Meteosat Third Generation and EPS-SG. Sentinel-5 will map pollutants produced by power plants, heavy industry and road transport.
The Sentinel-6 radar altimeter mission is part of the Copernicus Programme, with the objective of providing high-precision measurements of global sea-level. Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) is EUMETSAT's direct contribution to the funding, development and implementation of the Sentinel-6 mission.
Jason-3 and Jason-CS (Sentinel-6) are contributing missions of the Copernicus programme. Contribution Missions will deliver complementary data to the Sentinel data, ensuring that a whole range of observational requirements is satisfied. Jason-3 was launched from Vandenberg on 17 January 2016.
As part of its Ocean Surface Topography Mission which support operational oceanography, Jason-3 will secure provision of data for key Copernicus Services, in particular the Copernicus Marine Service. EUMETSAT plans to merge Jason-2 and Jason-3 operations to optimise resources and be more cost-effective.
By combining the exploitation of Jason-3 and the development and exploitation of two Jason-CS satellites the aim is to secure the continuity of critical high precision observations of ocean surface topography until 2030+, in full synergy with the marine mission of the Copernicus Sentinel-3.