The Sentinel-2 mission is a land monitoring constellation of two satellites that will provide high resolution optical imagery and provide continuity for the current SPOT and Landsat missions. The mission will provide a global coverage of the Earth’s land surface every 10 days with one satellite and five days with two satellites, making the data of great use in on-going studies.
The satellites are equipped with the state-of-the-art MSI (Multispectral Imager) instrument that offers high-resolution optical imagery.
Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation program to date. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. Copernicus is the new name for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program, previously known as GMES.
This initiative is headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA coordinates the delivery of data from upwards of 30 satellites. The EC, acting on behalf of the European Union, is responsible for the overall initiative, setting requirements and managing the services.
ESA is developing a new family of satellites, called Sentinels, specifically for the operational needs of the Copernicus program. The Sentinels will provide a unique set of observations, starting with the all-weather, day and night radar images from Sentinel-1A, launched in April 2014.
Sentinel-2, launched on June 23, 2015, is designed to deliver high-resolution optical images for land services and Sentinel-3 will provide data for services relevant to the ocean and land. Sentinel-4 and -5 will provide data for atmospheric composition monitoring from geostationary and polar orbits, respectively. Sentinel-6 will carry a radar altimeter to measure global sea-surface height, primarily for operational oceanography and for climate studies. In addition, a Sentinel-5 Precursor mission is being developed to reduce data gaps between Envisat, in particular the Sciamachy instrument, and the launch of Sentinel-5.
The Space Component is managed by ESA and serves users with satellite data available through the Sentinels and the Copernicus Contributing Missions at national, European and international levels.