Feb 17, 2016

Sentinel-3A successfully launched into orbit

The third Copernicus Sentinel satellite carrying four Earth-observing instruments was launched into orbit on 16 February at 17:57 GMT (18:57 CET; 20:57 local time) on a Rockot launcher from Plesetsk, Russia.

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Sentinel-3A was delivered into its planned orbit, 815 km above Earth, being separated 79 min into the flight.

The first signal from Sentinel-3A was received after 92 min by the Kiruna station in Sweden. Telemetry links and attitude control were then established by controllers at ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing them to monitor the health of the satellite

The mission is expected to begin operations in five months, delivering Earth obseration data worldwide and free of charge for all users.

The Sentinel-3A satellite will deliver data within three hours of sensing, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While these data will be fed primarily into the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service, all the Copernicus services will benefit from it, as the satellite will systematically measure also Earth’s land, ice and atmosphere with a suite of cutting-edge instruments.

This is the third of the Sentinel satellites launched in the less than two years. Sentinel-3B, its twin satellite, is scheduled for launch next year.