The SENTINEL-3 Mission: Development and Operations
Berruti, Bruno1; Mecklenburg, Susanne2; Provost, Dany3

The Sentinel-3 is an Earth Observation Mission and forms part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative, the ESA-EC jointly led European Programme designed to support 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 in an operational context. The series of Sentinel-3 satellites will ensure global, frequent and near-real time ocean, ice and land monitoring, with the provision of observation data in routine, long term (up to 20 years of operations) and continuous fashion, with a consistent quality and a very high level of availability. The Sentinel-3 mission addresses these requirements by implementing and operating:

  • A dual frequency, delay-Doppler Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL) instrument supported by a dual frequency passive microwave radiometer (MWR) for wet-tropospheric correction, a Precise Orbit Determination package including a GPS receiver, a DORIS instrument and a laser retro-reflector for precise orbit determination.
  • A highly sensitive Ocean and Land Colour Imager (OLCI) delivering multi-channel wide-swath optical measurements for ocean and land surfaces.
  • A dual-view Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) delivering accurate surface ocean, land, and ice temperature.
  • A ground segment acquiring, processing and disseminating core data products in an operational context in the required timeliness to GMES and national users (e.g. NRT, STC, NTC).

    The Sentinel-3 mission is today supported by two Satellites, with the launch of the first one expected in 2014, the second one being completed approximately one year later (launch date still to be defined). With the delivery of the satellite elements close to completion, this paper presents a brief overview of the GMES Sentinel-3 mission concentrating on the status of the development of the satellite and ground segment. The paper will also provide an overview on the arrangements and set-up foreseen between ESA and EUMETSAT for the operations phase of the Sentinel-3 mission, an outline of the functionalities of the Sentinel-3 ground segment and access to data.