Minimize Orbit

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-3A and –3B:





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-3A and SENTINEL-3B orbit ground tracks for a complete cycle with a time step of 10 seconds are available below: