Initial data from Sentinel-3A very promising

The Sentinel-3A Earth observation satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor on behalf of the European Space Agency for the European Commission’s Copernicus program, has reached the stage when all its instrument are operating and  transmitting their scientific data, in line with the expectations for this global ocean and land monitoring mission.

Sentinel-3A was launched on February 16. It is now operating nominally and all instruments are activated. The OLCI (Ocean and Land Color Instrument), which transmitted its first image on February 29, is designed to measure ocean and land colors, in bandwidths ranging from visible to near infrared.

The SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer) has also transmitted data in line with expectations, starting on March 2 in visible bandwidths, then, after a scheduled decontamination, on March 22 in all bandwidths up to infrared.

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The SRAL (SAR Altimeter) has been transmitting data since March 2, while the MWR (Microwave Radiometer), activated on February 29, provides complementary data for the satellite’s surface topography mission.

However, the satellite has not been officially commissioned, since a number of validation and calibration tests must still be performed in the coming months. The in-orbit acceptance review and validation of level-1 products allowing start of Sentinel-3 nominal operations are planned for July 2016.

Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Apr 11, 2016