Sentinel-3A, ESA's next step in earth observation program
With the launch of Sentinel-3A last week, ESA has taken a next step in monitoring the earth surface. Sentinel-3 is primarily an ocean mission, however, the mission will also be able to provide atmospheric and land applications. The mission will provide data continuity for the ERS, Envisat and SPOT satellites.
Sentinel-3 will make use of multiple sensing instruments to accomplish its objectives; SLSTR (Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer), OLCI (Ocean and Land Colour Instrument), SRAL (SAR Altimeter), and MWR (MicroWave Radiometer). Sentinel-3 has a relatively coarse spatial resolution but several instruments that, although primarily intented for ocean applications, can provide valuable information for global land cover mapping and monitoring.
With Sentinel-2 having delivered its first image in June 2015 and Sentinel-3B, Sentinel-3A’s twin satellite, scheduled for launch next year, a vast amount of data from all the Sentinels comes available to a world-wide audience, free of charge.