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Proceedings Paper

Sentinel-2: next generation satellites for optical land observation from space
Author(s): G. Lautenschläger; R. Gessner; W. Gockel; C. Haas; G. Schweickert; S. Bursch; M. Welsch; H. Sontag
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Paper Abstract

The first Sentinel-2 satellites, which constitute the next generation of operational Earth observation satellites for optical land monitoring from space, are undergoing completion in the facilities at Astrium ready for launch end 2014. Sentinel-2 will feature a major breakthrough in the area of optical land observation since it will for the first time enable continuous and systematic acquisition of all land surfaces world-wide with the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), thus providing the basis for a truly operational service. Flying in the same orbital plane and spaced at 180°, the constellation of two satellites, designed for an in-orbit nominal operational lifetime of 7 years each, will acquire all land surfaces in only 5 days at the equator. In order to support emergency operations, the satellites can further be operated in an extended observation mode allowing to image any point on Earth even on a daily basis. MSI acquires images in 13 spectral channels from Visible-to-Near Infrared (VNIR) to Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) with a swath of almost 300 km on ground and a spatial resolution up to 10 m. The data ensure continuity to the existing data sets produced by the series of Landsat and SPOT satellites, and will further provide detailed spectral information to enable derivation of biophysical or geophysical products. Excellent geometric image quality performances are achieved with geolocation better than 16 m, thanks to an innovative instrument design in conjunction with a high-performance satellite AOCS subsystem centered around a 2-band GPS receiver, high-performance star trackers and a fiberoptic gyro. To cope with the high data volume on-board, data are compressed using a state-of-the-art wavelet compression scheme. Thanks to a powerful mission data handling system built around a newly developed very large solid-state mass memory based on flash technology, on-board compression losses will be kept to a minimum. The Sentinel-2 satellite design features a highly flexible operational concept, allowing downlink of all mission data to a nominal X-band core ground stations network. In addition, users could receive mission data sets at selected X-band local user ground stations or through an Optical Communication Payload (OCP) via an inter-orbit optical link to a geostationary EDRS relay satellite at Ka-band user ground stations. Different priority schemes can be selected in flight to allow transmission of critical image data with the shortest possible latency. The system is designed for high system autonomy allowing for pre-programming of the operational schedule for 15 days in advance without interference from ground. Apart from the nominal and extended imaging modes, the satellites also feature a calibration mode to support regular in-orbit radiometric calibration of the instrument. Overall, the Sentinel- 2 satellites are designed to provide in-orbit availability for the instrument data greater than 97%, which fulfills the requirements of a fully operational system for multispectral Earth observation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 October 2013
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8889, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XVII, 88890L (16 October 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2028725
Show Author Affiliations
G. Lautenschläger, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
R. Gessner, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
W. Gockel, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
C. Haas, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
G. Schweickert, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
S. Bursch, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
M. Welsch, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)
H. Sontag, EADS Astrium GmbH (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8889:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XVII
Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda, Editor(s)

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