Less than two weeks after launch, the Copernicus Sentinel-3B has delivered its first images of the Earth. These first images surpass expectations and include the sunset over the Antarctic, sea ice in the Arctic and the prospect of Northern Europe.
The very first image, taken on May 7 at 10:33 GMT (12:33 CEST), shows the transition between day and night over the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The satellite also caught swirls of sea ice off Greenland the same day. Another in this first series of images offers a rare cloud-free view of Northern Europe.
They were taken by the satellite and country color instrument with 21 different bands, a resolution of 300 m and a stripe width of 1270 km. The instrument can be used to monitor aquatic biological productivity and marine pollution and can be used over land to monitor the health of vegetation.
Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programs, said: "The introduction of Sentinel-3B We have completed the first group of Sentinels we supply for Copernicus.
" We have the start and early orbit phase in record time and now we are getting the satellites for service up and running.
"These first images of the ocean and land color instrument are already showing how satellites will play their part in providing a stream of high quality environmental data to improve lives, boost the economy and protect our world."
The Sentinel-3B The satellite took off from Russia on April 25 and joined the identical twin Sentinel-3A in orbit. This pairing of satellites increases coverage and data delivery for the Copernicus Environmental Program of the European Union.
As a work of art for Copernicus, the two satellites carry the same series of instruments for the systematic measurement of the oceans, land, ice and the earth's atmosphere.
Through the oceans, they measure the temperature, color and height of the sea surface as well as the ocean Thickness of sea ice. These measurements are used, for example, to monitor changes in the Earth's climate and for more practical applications such as marine pollution monitoring.
Overland, this innovative mission oversees areal fires, maps the way land is used, verifies vegetation health, and measures the height of rivers and lakes.
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bienkowska said: "This new satellite will provide valuable images of how our oceans and land are changing.
" This will not only accelerate the response to natural disasters but also create new business opportunities. Earth observation is a bigger market than you think – a driver of research, a provider of high-quality jobs, and a developer of innovative services and applications.
Bruno Berruti, ESA Sentinel 3 project manager, said: "We are very pleased to see these first images showing that the satellite is healthy.
"The ESA will carefully calibrate the instruments and commission the satellite for the next five months before handing over Eumetsat for routine use.
During this mission phase, the two Sentinel-3 satellites are flown in a tandem formation separated by approximately 30 seconds
Sentinel-3B is then phased to reach its final position – flying in the same orbit, that it is offset from Sentinel-3A by 140 °.
After commissioning, ESA will hand over the satellite operations to Eumetsat. It is then managed jointly, with ESA producing the land products and Eumetsat the marine products for the Copernicus services.
Alain Ratier, Director General of Eumetsat, added, "The Sentinel-3 constellation is the European backbone of a space-based, global ocean surveillance system."
"These first images are the first demonstration to be Sentinel-3B Promising to usher in a new era for operational oceanography and flow-on human safety and industrial benefits.
"They will enhance the benefits of the Sentinel 3 ocean forecasting mission and the blue economy."
Sentinel-3B is the seventh Sentinel satellite launched for Copernicus. Each mission is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to provide complementary images and data to monitor the environment.
Video: Sentinel-3B Start