Minimize User Guides Introduction

Using the Handbooks

Each handbook allows the individual reader to choose the relevant level of detail required for the subject of interest, and enables them to navigate in a logical flow from high level topics such as mission and thematic areas towards increasingly detailed content about quality and access to SENTINEL data.

The Handbook content is split into three focus areas:

These areas are intended to provide the general public and policy makers with an overview of the SENTINEL missions, and the SENTINEL Mission Guide and User Guides. These are also hosted on the Earthnet portal and are outlined below. Their focus is on providing SENTINEL data users with background information related to the acquisition, dissemination and access to SENTINEL data for each mission.

1.1 The Mission Guide content is an overview of the mission, its objectives, the satellite, its payload, the ground segment, generated data products and related news. It will provide support to potential users of GMES services, as well as being of interest to the wider user community.

1.2 The User Guide provides a high level description of the instruments, coverage and acquisition, and available product levels. The User Guide also provides information on the relevant applications of each instrument, the format of the products and the software tools required to interpret the data. This information has been harmonised for all SENTINEL missions and can be accessed under each category via the User Guide panel on the right of each instrument User Guide page. The categories are:

1.3 The Technical Guide will provide a point of engagement for ESA and the SENTINEL technical user community. The detailed information available in the Technical Guide is intended for users such as academics and industrial software engineers who have previous experience of similar EO missions and in-depth experience of data manipulation and management.

    • Product Overview
    • Applications
    • Product Types
    • Processing Levels
    • Resolutions
    • Coverage
    • Naming Conventions
    • Data Formats
    • Software Tools
    • Definitions.

Note: SENTINEL-1 and SENTINEL-2 are single instrument platforms, however, each SENTINEL-3 satellite carries four instruments:

SENTINEL-3 satellites also carry an additional suite of instruments for Precise Orbit Determination (POD), including Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) and Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR). More information on these POD instruments can be found in the SENTINEL-3 Special Publication.

In addition to the instruments outlined above, SLSTR and OLCI products will be combined to provide a Synergy (SYN) product. The SYN product has its own User Guide.

SPPA - EO Data Quality Service

Supporting information, such as product quality reports and regular reports on the status of the missions, will be provided on the ESA SPPA - EO Data Quality website.

Minimize Instrument User Guides


The SENTINEL-1 mission will carry a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument. This will ensure continuity of data from the ERS, ENVISAT and Canada's RADARSAT missions.



The SENTINEL-2 mission will carry a Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), capable of acquiring data in 13 spectral bands. This is envisaged to ensure continuity for the SPOT and LANDSAT data.



One of the instruments the SENTINEL-3 mission will utilise is the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI), an imaging spectrometer which will ensure continuity of data from ENVISAT's MERIS instrument.



Another instrument carried aboard the SENTINEL-3 satellites will be the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR). This instrument will acquire data for the purposes of climate and meteorology studies.


SENTINEL-3 Synergy

Data from SENTINEL-3's OLCI and SLSTR instruments will be combined to form Synergy (SYN) products. This data will provide continuity for the SPOT VEGETATION products.


SENTINEL-3 Altimetry

The third instrument carried aboard the SENTINEL-3 satellites will be the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL), of CryoSat heritage. This will provide sea surface height and topographic measurements over sea-ice, ice sheets, rivers and lakes.



TROPOMI is the single payload of the SENTINEL-5P spacecraft, the purpose of which is to measure atmospheric properties and constituents. The instrument uses passive remote sensing techniques to attain its objective by measuring at the Top Of Atmosphere (TOA) the solar radiation reflected by and radiated from the Earth.