Moments after Sentinel-3A separates from its rocket, a team of European mission control specialists will assume control, shepherding the new spacecraft through its critical first days in space.
Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3A is set to join the Sentinel-1A radar satellite and the Sentinel-2A high-resolution optical satellite in orbit to monitor the health of our planet.
This latest multitalented mission will 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 as part of Europe's revolutionary Copernicus programme.
The job of lofting the 1150-kg satellite into orbit will be carried out by a multistage 29-m tall Rockot launcher, set to lift off from Plesetsk, Russia, on 16 February.