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sentinel 1 in orbit

Figure 1: SENTINEL-1

The SENTINEL-1 mission is the European Radar Observatory for the Copernicus joint initiative of the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Copernicus, previously known as GMES, is a European initiative for the implementation of information services dealing with environment and security. It is based on observation data received from Earth Observation satellites and ground-based information.

The SENTINEL-1 mission includes C-band imaging operating in four exclusive imaging modes with different resolution (down to 5 m) and coverage (up to 400 km). It provides dual polarisation capability, very short revisit times and rapid product delivery. For each observation, precise measurements of spacecraft position and attitude are available.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has the advantage of operating at wavelengths not impeded by cloud cover or a lack of illumination and can acquire data over a site during day or night time under all weather conditions. SENTINEL-1, with its C-SAR instrument, can offer reliable, repeated wide area monitoring.

The mission is composed of a constellation of two satellites, SENTINEL-1A and SENTINEL-1B, sharing the same orbital plane.

SENTINEL-1 is designed to work in a pre-programmed, conflict-free operation mode, imaging all global landmasses, coastal zones and shipping routes at high resolution and covering the global ocean with vignettes. This ensures the reliability of service required by operational services and a consistent long term data archive built for applications based on long time series.