The Sentinel-3 orbit is similar to the orbit of Envisat allowing continuation of the ERS/Envisat time series.
Sentinel-3 uses a high inclination orbit (98.65°) for optimal coverage of ice and snow parameters in high latitudes. The orbit inclination is the angular distance of the orbital plane from the equator.
The Sentinel-3 orbit is a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit with a descending node equatorial crossing at 10:00 h Mean Local Solar time. In a sun-synchronous orbit, the surface is always illuminated at the same sun angle.
The orbital cycle is 27 days (14+7/27 orbits per day, 385 orbits per cycle). The orbit cycle is the time taken for the satellite to pass over the same geographical point on the ground.
The two in-orbit Sentinel-3 satellites enable a short revisit time of less than two days for OLCI and less than one day for SLSTR at the equator.
The orbit reference altitude is 814.5 km.
Sentinel-3B's orbit is identical to Sentinel-3A's orbit but flies +/-140° out of phase with Sentinel-3A.
The following table contains a summary of useful orbital information for Sentinel-3:
Altitude |
Inclination |
Period |
Cycle |
Ground-track deviation |
Local Time at Descending Node |
814.5 km |
98.65 deg |
100.99 min |
27 days |
+- 1 km |
10:00 hours |
The KML data files displaying the Sentinel-3 orbit ground tracks for a complete cycle with a time step of 10 seconds are available below:
- Relative Orbits - see also the Relative Orbits File Transfer Document
- Absolute Orbits - see also the Absolute Orbits File Transfer Document
Download ASCII files with the Sentinel-3 reference latitude and longitude, for a complete cycle, with a time step of 1 second.