general navigation structure site performance info center of mass retroreflector info ilrs support general satellite info


Jump to: Mission Objectives, Mission Instrumentation, Mission Parameters, Additional Information

Mission Photos:

Sentinel-3 satellite
Courtesy of ESA

Mission Objectives:

The main objective of the Sentinel-3 mission is to measure sea surface topography; sea and land surface temperatures; and ocean and land surface color with high accuracy and reliability to support ocean forecasting systems, environmental, and climate monitoring.

The objective of the Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR) is to permit ground-based laser ranging of the Sentinel-3 satellites. These measurements will be used for calibration of the on-board navigation system and of the Radar Altimeter measurements as well as for the S-3 POD processing. SLR tracking of Sentinel-3A is restricted to a subset of the ILRS network.

Mission Instrumentation:

The mission's primary instruments are optical instruments (OLCI, SLSTR); and the Altimeter system composed of a SAR radar altimeter, a microwave radiometer, and a Precise Orbit Determination (POD) package composed of a GNSS, a DORIS and LRR.

Mission Parameters:
Satellite: Sentinel-3A Sentinel-3B
Expected Life: 7.25 years 7.25 years
Primary Applications: Marine Observation Marine Observation
Primary SLR Applications: Calibration of instruments, orbit determination Calibration of instruments, orbit determination
COSPAR ID: 1601101 1803901
SIC Code: 8010 8011
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: 41335 43437
Launch Date: February 16, 2016 April 25, 2018
NP Bin Size: 15 seconds 15 seconds
RRA Shape: spherical spherical
Cube Diameter:    
Reflectors: 7 corner cubes 7 corner cubes
Inclination: 98.65 degrees 98.65 degrees
Eccentricity: approximately 0 approximately 0
Altitude: 814.5 km 814.5 km
Weight: 1150 kg (+100kg fuel at launch) 1150 kg (+100kg fuel at launch)

Additional Information:




  • Arnold, D., Montenbruck, O.., Hackel, S., and K. Sosnica (2019), "Satellite laser ranging to low Earth orbiters: orbit and network validation", J. Geodesy, 93(11), 2315-2334, DOI: 10.1007/s00190-018-1140-4
  • Fernández J., Peter H., Calero E.J., Berzosa J., Gallardo L.J., and P. Féménias (2019), "Sentinel-3A: Validation of Orbit Products at the Copernicus POD Service", In: Mertikas S., Pail R. (eds) Fiducial Reference Measurements for Altimetry, International Association of Geodesy Symposia, vol 150. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp.75-82, DOI: 10.1007/1345_2019_64
  • Montenbruck, O., Hackel, S., and A. Jäggi (2018), "Precise orbit determination of the Sentinel-3A altimetry satellite using ambiguity-fixed GPS carrier phase observations", J. Geodesy, 92, 711–726, DOI: 10.1007/s00190-017-1090-2
  • Fernández, J., Fernández, C., Féménias, P, and H. Peter (2016), "The Copernicus Sentinel-3 Mission", 20th International Workshop on Laser Ranging, Potsdam, Germany, Oct. 9-14, 2016, (
  • European Space Agency (ESA), Sentinel-3, ESA's Global land and Ocean Mission for GMeS Operational Services, ESA SP 1322/3, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, October 2012, (
  • Donlon, C., Berruti, B., Buongiorno, A. et al. (2012), "The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Sentinel-3 mission", Remote Sensing of Environoment, 120, 37-57, DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2011.07.024