Satellite Description

The SENTINEL-5 payload instrument is hosted as a Customer Furnished Item (CFI) on the MetOp-SG A satellite (see Figure 2) which is operated in the frame of the EPS-SG programme.


MetOp-SG consists of a pair of low Earth Orbit satellites, MetOp-SG A and MetOp-SG B, based on a common platform design with different sets of instruments (see Table 2). There will be a series of three MetOp-SG A + MetOp-SG B pairs, leading to a total of 6 satellites. The launch of the first series is expected for 2021 (SG-A) and 2022 (SG-B). The second series will be launched about 7 years after the launch of the first series and the third series about 7 years after the launch of the second series. The nominal life time of each spacecraft is about 7.5 years with a possible 2 years extension of life, providing an overall system operational lifetime of over 21 years.


Both types of satellites (A and B) will be designed for launch on a Soyuz-class launcher and to be technically compatible with three potential launch vehicles (Soyuz, Ariane and Falcon 9).


Table 2: Instruments embarked on the MetOp-SG A and MetOp-SG B satellites.

MetOp-SG A

MetOp-SG B

MetImage  (Visible/InfraRed Imager) - DLR

MWI (Microwave Imaging Radiometer - ESA

MWS (Microwave Sounder) - ESA

ICI (Ice Cloud Imager) - ESA

IASI-NG (Infrared Atmospheric Sounder Interferometer-Next Generation) - CNES

SCA (Scatterometer) - ESA

RO (Radio Occultation) - ESA

RO (Radio Occultation) - ESA

3MI (Multi-view Multi-channel Multi-polarization Imager) - ESA

ADCS-4 (Advanced Data Collection Service) -  CNES

SENTINEL-5  - ESA/Copernicus




The main characteristics of the MetOp-SG  A satellite, hosting the SENTINEL-5  payload instrument, are presented in Table 3


Table 3: Satellite (MetOp-SG A) Platform Main Characteristics


AstroBus L 250 M from Airbus Defence & Space

attitude control

Nominal mode: yaw steering   - gyroless

Safe mode: three-axis stabilised

launch mass

 4065 kg. (+ 135 kg launch adaptor)

stowed dimensions

6.5 (+0.55) x 2.97 x 3.36 meters


3.2 kW (EOL)

data storage capacity

600 Gbit (sized for 1.5 orbits)

communication links

Ka-band downlink: 781 Mbit/s (2 channels)

X-band downlink: 80 Mbits/s


7.5 years


Satellite A

Figure 2: illustration of the MetOp-SG A satellite (credit: ESA).

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