EUMETSAT has confirmed the readiness of the company's teams and the new version of their ground segment to support the launch and commissioning of the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite in a two-satellite configuration with Sentinel-3A.
The new version of the ground segment includes enhancements and upgrades necessary to exploit a dual Sentinel-3 system. Its acceptance follows a comprehensive campaign of verification and validation tests.
During the commissioning of Sentinel-3B, the two Sentinel-3 satellites will fly in close formation, 30 seconds apart. In this phase, ESA will manage Sentinel-3B flight operations and EUMETSAT will be progressively ramping up their control activity to prepare the hand-over, while continuing to perform flight operations of Sentinel-3A. The close formation flight will allow to compare thoroughly the measurements from all instruments aboard Sentinel-3A and –B, ensuring the best consistency between the products from the two satellites.
The completion of commissioning will lead to a handover of the Sentinel-3B satellite from ESA to EUMETSAT once the latter has been moved to the final orbital position at a 140º phasing from Sentinel-3A to form the full Sentinel-3 constellation. The 140° phasing was chosen to optimize global coverage and ensure optimized sampling of ocean currents by the combined altimeters on board Sentinel-3A and -3B.
The Sentinel-3 constellation will also realize the best possible synergy with the cooperative Jason-3 high precision ocean altimeter mission, another Copernicus marine and climate mission exploited by EUMETSAT on behalf of the European Union.
Under the Copernicus data policy, all Sentinel-3 marine data and products are available on a full, free and open basis to all users through EUMETSAT’s Near Real Time dissemination channels EUMETCast, the Copernicus Online Data Access and EUMETview.