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Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivered first images

by Tejaswi Bhardwaj

The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-3B was launched on 25th April 2018 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The hard work and dedication by the teams at ESA, Eumetsat, France’s CNES space agency, industry, service providers and data users made the launch of the satellite a huge success. Sentinel-3B joined its twin, Sentinel-3A, in orbit for systematically monitoring & change detection of Earth’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere. 

The pairing of the two satellites optimizes coverage and data delivery for Copernicus. This mission delivers data within three hours of sensing, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to offer optical remote sensing services using satellite imagery. While these data are fed primarily into the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service, all the Copernicus services benefit to produce knowledge and information products in near-real time for a wide range of geospatial services & applications including geological mapping of the earth’s natural resources.

Sentinel-3B is the seventh Sentinel satellite launched for Copernicus. Each mission carries different state-of-the-art technology to deliver a stream of complementary satellite imagery and data for environmental monitoring. The Sentinel-3 mission is essential for applications for the ocean and coastal monitoring, numerical weather and ocean prediction, sea-level change, and sea-surface topography monitoring, ocean primary production estimation and land-cover change mapping.

          Fig 1  IMAGE © ESA   Copernicus Sentinel-3B set for launch on 25 April at 17:57 GMT (19:57 CEST)

The Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivered its first images two weeks after the launch of the satellite. The first set of images included the sunset over Antarctica, sea ice in the Arctic and a view of northern Europe. They were taken by the satellite’s ocean and land color instrument, which features 21 distinct bands, a resolution of 300 m and a swath width of 1270 km. The instrument can be used for aquatic biological productivity monitoring and marine pollution, and to monitor the health of vegetation over the land.

           Fig 2  IMAGE © ESA   Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivered first of its imagery of Antarctica sunset

                     Fig 3  IMAGE © ESA   Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivered imagery of Greenland swirls

                               Fig 4  IMAGE © ESA   Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivered imagery of Northern Europe

These first images from the ocean and land color instrument show how the satellite is set to play its role in providing a stream of high-quality environmental data to improve lives, boost the economy and protect our world. Over oceans, it measures the temperature, color, and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used, for example, to monitor changes in Earth’s climate and for more hands-on applications such as for monitoring marine pollution. Over land, this innovative mission is used for wildfires monitoring, maps the way land is used, checks vegetation health and measures the height of rivers and lakes.


Sentinel-3 is primarily an ocean mission, however, the mission is also able to provide atmospheric and land applications. The mission provides data continuity for the ERS, Envisat and SPOT satellites. Sentinel-3 makes use of multiple sensing instruments to accomplish its objectives; SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer), OLCI (Ocean and Land Colour Instrument), SRAL (SAR Altimeter), DORIS, and MWR (Microwave Radiometer).

SATPALDA is a privately owned company and a leading provider of satellite imagery and GeoSpatial services to the user community. Established in 2002, SATPALDA has successfully completed wide range of photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Projects.

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