Any addition to the family is a big occasion, and it was no different for the 7th satellite joining the Sentinel satellite family already in orbit. Sentinel-3B was successfully launched at 19:57 CET on Wednesday 25th April from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia. The Copernicus Masters was front and centre at the ESA launch event held at ILA Berlin to catch all the action.
Joining a unique group of Copernicus enthusiasts called the Sentinerds, we were first treated to an exclusive event introduction by Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director of Earth observation. Having worked on Copernicus since the very beginning, it was fantastic to hear Josef Aschbacher share over 20 years’ worth of experience and insights. We spoke about all things ESA, Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-5P. Here are a few of the insights from our conversation and the launch!
Copernicus is the most successful Earth observation programme in the world with nothing comparable anywhere else. With full, free and open access to 15 terabytes of data every day, the Copernicus programme holds infinite opportunity to develop commercial applications of the data. Josef Aschbacher tells the Copernicus Masters what the launch of the Sentinel-3B means for entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs are one of the big winners of Copernicus, both Sentinel-3B and all the others… The ‘Swiss Knife’ of our spacecraft, the Sentinel-3B does everything. It measures the ocean, the land, the atmosphere and the cryosphere – so all the various parameters. On the ocean it measures ocean currents, sea level height, sea surface temperatures and on the land, it measures chlorophyll activity, the health and state of vegetation, and agricultural production. In the atmosphere it measures water vapour content for example and in the cryosphere, ice coverage for example. It covers all the parameters needed (for entrepreneurs) to make money and to create businesses.
There are more and more businesses being created by people who we have never met or seen before. They mostly come from the IT sector and they discover this data because they are free and open and are very interesting to them. They create a small business of 5 people, a small SME, and sell products from information that is derived from this data. I am really seeing a lot of jobs being created, also in the commercial sector, and apart from better understanding the health of the planet, which of course is necessary, private businesses will really benefit from the use of this data.”
Now in orbit, the Sentinel-3B will fly in tandem with its twin the -3A, just 30 seconds apart. It will do this for approximately 4.5 months for calibration before it separates by 140 degrees. Doubling the capabilities of ocean monitoring satellites, the launch of the Sentinel-3B is set to provide information that will benefit a wide range of application fields and industries, particularly those at risk from ocean related disasters.
The Copernicus Masters congratulates all the teams involved in the launch including ESA, the European Commission and EUMETSAT! We are excited to see the next generation of commercial Earth observation applications using Sentinel-3 data. Explore the Copernicus Masters to see how many possibilities are offered to new ideas in this field.
Launch of the Sentinel-3B was live sketched throughout the night
Live from the Mission Control Room at ESA ESOC