published on 26 April 2018 in space
Sentinel-3B in orbit ready to study the oceans
Sentinel-3B, the ocean sentinel, was launched yesterday evening (7:57 pm in Italy) from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Siberia. Sentinel-3B is the seventh Sentinel developed by ESA, the European Space Agency, within Copernicus, the ambitious earth observation programme carried out by ESA and the European Commission. Sentinel 3B will join its twin Sentinel 3A, launched in 2016 to offer the best possible coverage. In particular, it will have the task of monitoring the state of health of seas and oceans and will measure temperature, salinity and levels of oxygen as well as observing coasts and ice cover. The two satellites, working simultaneously, can send data back to Earth within three hours of collection, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Advanced instruments have been installed on board the satellite, including:
- an altimeter combined with a microwave radiometer for surface topography;
- a Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer made by the Italian company, Leonardo, which will measure land and ocean surface temperatures;
- an optical instrument to observe the colour of fresh and salt waters.
The launch of Sentinel-3B enlarges the family of Planet Sentinels devised to study and protect the Earth, which already includes 6 satellites: the two Sentinel 1A and 1B radar satellites; Sentinel 2A and 2B, specialised in observations from visible to infra-red images; Sentinel 3A, which like 3B, is equipped with optical instruments to observe the Earth; Sentinel 5P, a single-satellite mission, devised to provide a complete map of pollutants. In the future, the family will also include Sentinels 4, 5 e 6, designed to monitor the atmosphere and ocean surfaces.