Airbus plays a crucial role in constructing the Sentinel satellites and their instruments:
Airbus is prime contractor for this two-satellite mission. Sentinel-2A was delivered to orbit in 2015, while its Sentinel-2B counterpart was launched in 2017.
The extracted data is primarily used for monitoring natural disasters (floods, forest fires, landslides, erosion) and in the fields of land use (soil sealing, spatial planning, forestry management), humanitarian aid, as well as for coastal monitoring.
Sentinel-3 is dedicated to oceanography and vegetation monitoring. The two satellite components – Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B – were launched in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Airbus supplied this mission’s Microwave Radiometer – which determines the amount of humidity contained in the path of the radar pulses – as well as a number of satellite subsystems.
The Sentinel-4 mission will concentrate on services that include analysing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and monitoring air quality. Its primary task is to measure concentrations of aerosols, trace gases and cloud cover in the lower troposphere.
Airbus is prime contractor for the development and construction of its two spectrometers.
Launched in 2017, Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5P) is the first satellite dedicated to monitoring atmospheric chemistry for the Copernicus programme. Airbus is the spacecraft prime contractor.
As current-day climate monitoring missions come to the end of their operational lifetimes, Sentinel-5P ensures the continuity of data to monitor the ozone hole and tropospheric pollution. Sentinel-5P will fill the gap between current atmospheric capabilities from polar Earth orbit and the launch of Sentinel-5 – which is envisaged for around 2021.
The high-precision Sentinel-5 instrument – developed and constructed by Airbus as prime contractor – will monitor Earth’s atmosphere globally and daily by taking measurements of trace gases and aerosols that have an impact on the climate and air quality. Sentinel-5 will be installed on an Airbus-built MetOP Second Generation (MetOP-SG) satellite and fly in a roughly 800-kilometre polar orbit around the Earth.
Sentinel-6 – for which Airbus is prime contractor to the European Space Agency (ESA) – is a mission to carry out high-precision measurements of ocean surface topography.
The satellite will measure its distance to the ocean surface with an accuracy of a few centimetres and use this data to map surface topography globally, repeating the cycle every 10 days. The measurements are vital for modelling the oceans and predicting rises in sea levels.
ROSE-L: L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar
Since longer L-band signals can penetrate through many natural materials – such as vegetation, dry snow and ice – the ROSE-L mission will provide additional information that cannot be gathered by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 C-band radar mission – supporting forest management, precision farming and food security.
Sentinel satellites benefit from the SpaceDataHighway services provided by Airbus. The Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites are equipped with laser communication terminals that significantly accelerate the delivery of time-critical data and large volumes of data to Earth monitoring centres.