The EU’s Earth observation programme, Copernicus, has another Sentinel satellite (Sentinel-3B) in orbit following a successful launch. The Copernicus satellite will join its twin Seninel-3A in orbit.
This pairing of Sentinel satellites increases coverage and data delivery for the European Union’s Copernicus environment programme. The Sentinel-3B will improve Europe’s ability to monitor the planet’s oceans, changing land and atmosphere.
The additional data provided by the satellite will improve the understandings of:
- Sea level changes;
- Marine pollution; and
- Biological productivity.
It will also provide information on the spread of wildfires, land use, the state of vegetation and water levels.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs 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.”
The Copernicus mission
Copernicus relies on the Sentinel satellites and contributing missions to provide data for monitoring the environment and supporting civil security activities. Sentine-3 carries a series of sensors to do exactly that.
- Over oceans it measures: the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used, to monitor changes in Earth’s climate and for more hands-on applications such as marine pollution.
- Over land this innovative mission monitors: wildfires, maps the way land is used, checks vegetation health and measures the height of rivers and lakes.
ESA Director General Jan Wörner said: “This is the seventh launch of a Sentinel satellite in the last four years. It is a clear demonstration of what European cooperation can achieve and it is another piece to operating the largest Earth observation programme in the world, together with our partners from the European Commission and Eumetsat.”