Seventh Sentinel satellite in orbit
Copernicus Sentinel-3B, was successfully placed in orbit on a Rockot launcher on 25th April, joining its identical twin, Sentinel-3A.
The second Sentinel-3 satellite, Sentinel-3B, has been successfully placed in orbit, joining its identical twin Sentinel-3A. This pairing of satellites increases coverage and data delivery for the European Union’s Copernicus environment programme.
The 1150kg Sentinel-3B satellite — built by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency (ESA) — was carried into its planned orbit on a Rockot launcher from Plesetsk, Russia, at 17:57 GMT on 25th April.
Controllers are now checking that all the satellite’s systems are working and beginning to calibrate the instruments to commission the satellite. The mission is expected to begin routine operations after five months.
With this seventh Sentinel launch, the first set of Sentinel missions for the European Union’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network are in orbit, carrying a range of technologies to monitor Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere. The Sentinel-3 payload includes:
Two optical instruments: OLCI (Ocean and Land Color Instrument) and SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer)
Two RF (radio-frequency) instruments: SRAL (Synthetic-aperture Radar ALtimeter), and MWR (Microwave Radiometer), which will provide measurements to determine the topography of oceans, sea ice and bodies of water on land.
Over oceans, the satellites measure the temperature and colour of the sea surface, as well as sea levels and the thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used, for example, to monitor changes in Earth’s climate and for applications such as marine pollution.
Over land, the satellites monitor wildfires, map the way land is used, check vegetation health and measure water levels in rivers and lakes.