Just under two weeks after it was launched, the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite has delivered its first images of Earth, which include the sunset over Antarctica, sea ice in the Arctic, and a view of Northern Europe.
After a succesful launch, the very first image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite on 7 May shows the transition between day and night over the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The satellite has also captured sea ice off Greenland.
The images were taken by the satellite’s ocean and land colour instrument which can be used to monitor:
- Aquatic biological productivity;
- Marine pollution; and
- The health of vegetation.
Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA), said: “The launch of Sentinel-3B completed the first batch of Sentinels that we are delivering for Copernicus.
“We finished the launch and early orbit phase in a record time and we are now getting on with the task of commissioning the satellite for service.
“These first images from the ocean and land colour instrument already 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,” he concluded.
How will the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite assist observations?
The satellite increases coverage and data delivery for the European Union’s Copernicus environment programme. ESA says that the two satellites – 3A and 3B – for Copernicus carry the same instruments to measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere.
Over oceans it measures:
- Height of the sea surface; and
- Thickness of ice.
Over land the satellites:
- Monitor wildfires;
- Map the way land is used;
- Check vegetation health; and
- Measures the height of rivers and lakes.
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bienkowska, said: “This new satellite will deliver valuable images of how our oceans and land are changing.
“This will not only speed up the response to natural disasters, but also create new business opportunities. Earth Observation is a larger market than you would think – a driver for research discoveries, a provider of highly skilled jobs and a developer of innovative services and applications.”
Sentinel-3B is the seventh Sentinel satellite launched for Copernicus. Each mission carries different technology to deliver a stream of complementary imagery and data to monitor the environment.