Seventh satellite-launch of the Sentinel Earth Observation constellation

At 17:57 GMT on 25 April the Sentinel-3B satellite, just like its twin satellite Sentinel-3A back in February 2016, was blasted into space onboard a Rockot launch vehicle from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome. This is the seventh launch of the Copernicus program’s constellation..

Sentinel 3B_I

The Sentinel-3s make up the most complex pair of satellites of the European Copernicus program. Their main remit is to monitor oceanic parameters such as marine topography, the degree of pollution and sea-level change. But they also give thoroughgoing land-surface information, such as biodiversity, the atmosphere and the planet’s ice masses.

GMV has been directly involved in various phases of the project right from conception, including both the flight- and ground-segments. In relation in particular with onboard instruments, GMV has developed the onboard software of the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI)

Mention must also be made of the development and delivery of the control center, housed in ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), from where the mission is monitored during the Launch and Early-Orbit Phase (LEOP) and the commissioning phase, to check the mission meets established requirements. GMV has additionally made a significant contribution to development of the orbital control systems, as well as providing satellite-launch support.

GMV has also been responsible for development of the control center required in the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) during the routine mission phase, to which must be added development of the orbital control system, the mission planning system, the Integration, Verification and Validation (IV&V) activities of the whole set as well as support for associated operations.

Last but not least GMV regularly and continually provides the Precise Orbit Determination (POD) service under a EUMETSAT framework contract. This service is necessary for processing and using the mission’s onboard instrument data.