Sentinel-3 is part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative to deliver environmental and security services in Europe. Led by the European Commission, it is in response to the ever-increasing demands for effective environmental policies. ESA is responsible for the Space component of GMES, of which the five families of Sentinel missions are key components.
The CCD55-20 is an updated version of the CCD25-20, which was supplied to the ESA for the MERIS instrument, the predecessor of Sentinel-3. It is a back-illuminated frame-transfer CCD image sensor optimized for hyperspectral imaging. This optimization includes the use of a ‘gated dump drain,’ allowing the readout of selected image lines and the dumping of unwanted data. It also includes the use of graded thickness antireflection coating, giving the minimum possible reflection from the silicon surface for all wavelengths of interest.
Sentinel-3 will be used to study sea surface topography, sea/land surface temperature, ocean color, and land color with a high level of accuracy providing the European Union and its member states with crucial data. It will carry an advanced radar altimeter and a multi-channel optical imaging instrument. The launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite is planned for 2012.