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Sentinel-3 vector.svg
Operator EUMETSAT, European Space Agency[1]
Applications Forecasting systems, environmental monitoring, climate monitoring, topography
Spacecraft type Satellite
Constellation 3
Design life 7 years[2]:13
Launch mass 1250
Dimensions 3.701 by 2.202 by 2.207 metres (12.1 × 7.22 × 7.24 ft) - height × width × length
Power 2.1 kilowatts (2,100 W)
Batteries 160 Ah
Status Under construction
Built 0
On order 3
Launched 0
Operational 0
First launch
  • 3A - fall 2015
  • 3B - late 2017
  • 3C - before 2020[1]
Related spacecraft
Subsatellite of Sentinel constellation
← Sentinel-2 Sentinel-4

Sentinel-3[3] is an Earth Observation satellite mission developed by the ESA as part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security GMES program. GMES is the European programme to establish a European capacity for Earth Observation designed to provide European policy makers and public authorities with accurate and timely information to better manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.


On the 14th of April 2008, the European Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space signed a €305 million contract to build the first GMES Sentinel-3.[4] Satellite platform was delivered to France for final components assembly in 2013.[5] Communications systems were completed by Thales Alenia Space España in early 2014.[6]

Mission characteristics[edit]

  • Role: Earth Observation
  • Launch date: 2015[7]
  • Launch mass: ~1250 kg
  • Launcher' class: Vega or Rokot/Kourou
  • Launch location: French Guiana
  • Orbit: Sun-synchronous
  • Altitude: 814.5 km
  • Inclination: 98.65 °
  • Local time of Ascending Node: 10:00 
  • Orbit cycle: ~100 minutes
  • Nominal duration: 7.25 years


The Sentinel-3 spacecraft will carry six mission-related instruments: the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI), the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL), the DORIS system, a laser retroreflector (LRR), and a microwave radiometer (MWR). The OLCI and SLSTR are optical instruments which will provide data continuity for the Envisat mission. The SRAL, DORIS, and LRR instruments will provide topographic measurements over water, with the SRAL being the primary topographic instrument. The MWR will collect data on atmospheric water vapor and terrestrial thermal radiation.[1]

Additionally, the spacecraft will each carry a GNSS receiver to enable precise orbit determination.[1]


  • Ocean colour and land reflectance data
  • Sea, land and Ice surface temperature
  • Active fire and burnt area monitoring
  • Sea surface topography data


  1. ^ a b c d "Sentinel-3 - Earth Online - ESA". ESA. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Sentinel-3 User Handbook" (PDF). ESA. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  3. ^ C. Donlon, B. Berruti, A Buongiorno, M-H Ferreira, P. Femenias, J. Frerick, P. Goryl, U. Klein, H. Laur, C. Mavrocordatos, J. Nieke, H. Rebhan, B. Seitz, J. Stroede, and R. Sciarra, The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Sentinel-3 Mission, Remote Sensing of the Environment, 120,27-57,, 2012.
  4. ^ "Contract signed for ESA’s Sentinel-3 earth observation satellite". ESA. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bringing Sentinel-3 together". ESA. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Thales Alenia Space España’s contribution to Europe's Sentinel satellites". Thales Alenia Group. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Sentinel-3 stacks up". ESA. Retrieved 30 April 2014.