Airbus plays a crucial role in constructing the Sentinel satellites and their instruments:
The twin Sentinel-1 satellites are designed to provide radar-based Earth observation imagery and will supply data of significantly higher quality than its predecessor missions.
The first satellite, Sentinel-1A, was successfully launched in April 2014, to be followed in 2016 by the second satellite, Sentinel-1B.
Airbus is prime contractor for this 2 satellites mission.
The extracted data will be used primarily for monitoring natural disasters (floods, forest fires, landslides, erosion) and in the fields of land use, soil sealing, spatial planning, forestry management and humanitarian aid and as well as for coastal monitoring.
Sentinel-3 is dedicated to oceanography and the monitoring of vegetation.
Sentinel-3 will be equipped with up to four instruments. Airbus has been selected to supply one of these instruments, called the Microwave Radiometer, to determine the amount of humidity contained in the path of the radar pulses, as well as a number of satellite subsystems for this mission.
Airbus is the prime contractor for the development and construction of the two spectrometers for the Sentinel-4 mission.
The Sentinel-4 mission will concentrate on services such as analysing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and monitoring air quality. Its main task is to measure concentrations of aerosols, trace gases and cloud cover in the lower troposphere.
Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5P) will be the first satellite dedicated to monitoring atmospheric chemistry for the Copernicus programme. Airbus is the prime contractor for the satellite.
It will ensure there is continuity of data to monitor the ozone hole and tropospheric pollution as current climate monitoring missions come to the end of their lives. Sentinel-5P will fill the gap between current atmospheric capabilities from low polar orbit and the launch of Sentinel-5 which is envisaged for around 2021.
The high-precision Sentinel-5 instrument will be developed and constructed by the prime contractor Airbus.
The instrument will monitor the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere globally on a daily basis by taking measurements of trace gases and aerosols that have an impact on the climate and air quality. Sentinel-5 will be installed on a MetOP Second Generation (MetOP-SG) satellite and fly in a roughly 800 kilometre polar orbit around the Earth.
Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 for which Airbus is prime contractor to 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 the topography globally, repeating the cycle every ten days. The measurements made are vital for modelling the oceans and predicting rises in sea levels.
The Sentinel satellites benefit from the SpaceDataHighway services provided by Airbus. The Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites are equipped with laser communication terminals that will significantly accelerate the delivery of time-critical data and large volumes of data to Earth monitoring centres.