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N° 3–2016: Call for Media: Launch of Sentinel-3 satellite for Copernicus

1 February 2016

The third satellite of Europe’s Copernicus programme is set for launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on 16 February at 17:57 GMT (18:57 CET). Media representatives are invited to follow the launch at the main event at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus programme.

This unique environmental monitoring programme is providing a step change in the way we view and manage our environment, understand and tackle the effects of climate change and safeguard everyday lives.

Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3 will systematically measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. It will provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting.

With a focus on our oceans, Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements will be used, for example, to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity.

Over land, this innovative mission will provide a bigger picture by monitoring wildfires, mapping the way land is used, observing vegetation state and measuring the height of rivers and lakes – complementing the high-resolution measurements of its Sentinel-2 sister mission.

Sentinel-3 is based on a two identical satellites (Sentinel-3A and -3B) working together for optimum global coverage and data delivery. For example, with a swath width of 1270 km, the ocean and land colour sensor will provide global coverage every two days.

The mission is the result of close collaboration between ESA, the European Commission, Eumetsat, France’s CNES space agency, industry, service providers and data users. The satellites were designed and built by a consortium of around 100 companies under the leadership of Thales Alenia Space, France.

For the latest news and information on this mission, visit 

The Twitter hashtag to follow is #Sentinel3

Launch event at ESOC, ESA’s space operations centre

Doors open at 17:30 CET (16:30 GMT). Addresses by ESA’s Director General, the ESA Director of Operations and high-level representatives from the European Commission and Eumetsat will begin the event. Speakers will also include representatives from German national ministries. Experts will then provide an overview on the socio-economic impact of Copernicus and the concrete use of Sentinel-3 data for ocean and land monitoring.

Before the launch event, there will be the opportunity for interested journalists to visit Eumetsat’s control room from 15:15 to 16:30 CET.

Media should register at 9 February 2016 at the latest.

Information on “How to get to ESOC”:



ESA TV will provide broadcasters with live satellite relay or live videostream of the launch from Plesetsk.

Video material is available in the video archive, complemented with new productions according to the following provisional scheduleSentinel-3 technology and heritage 2 February; Copernicus 11 February .


Details at:


ESA’s Portal will cover the launch live, providing the videostream and updates of the launch at: and

For a collection of videos, including interviews with key team members and animations, visit:

Still images

The images from the mission can be found at: and 

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 20 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99