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Sentinel-3 Surface Topography Mission

The series of Sentinel satellites mark a major step forward in the collection of Earth Observation data with the commitment to a series of spacecraft and sensors to construct long time series of data suitable for both climate applications and widespread operational use. Each Sentinel mission is based on a constellation of two satellites to fulfil revisit and coverage requirements, providing robust datasets for Copernicus Services.

Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B are multi-instrument missions to measure sea-surface topography, sea- and land-surface temperature, ocean colour and land colour with high-end accuracy and reliability. The missions will support ocean forecasting systems, as well as environmental and climate monitoring.

Sentinel-3A was launched on 16 February 2016 and the SRAL and MWR sensors were switched-on 1 March and 29 February 2016 respectively. After 5 months of commissioning, the Routine operations started in July 2016.

After 6 first weeks of acquisition in LRM mode, Sentinel-3A was switched to SAR mode on 12 April 2016 and since then it has operated in SAR mode continuously and over all surfaces, being the first altimetry mission to use this mode at global scale.