Artist’s rendering of Sentinel-2 in orbit. Credit: ESA

Mar 7, 2017 • The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2B successfully launched into orbit last night from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana aboard a Vega rocket (10:49 p.m. local time March 6; 01:49 GMT March 7).

With Sentinel-2B in orbit, for any point on Earth the Sentinel-2 satellite duo will have a combined revisit time of five days.

The Sentinel-2 satellites have spectral bands similar to Landsat 8’s (excluding the thermal bands of Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor). The placement of the Sentinel-2 bands as compared to Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 bands can be seen in the graphic below.

The main visible and near-infrared Sentinel-2 bands have a spatial resolution of 10 meters, while its “red-edge” (red and near-infrared bands)—specifically designed to monitor vegetation—along with its two shortwave infrared bands have a 20-meter spatial resolution, and its coastal/aerosol, water vapor, and cirrus bands have a 60-meter spatial resolution.

During the development of Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2, calibration scientists from both projects worked together to cross-calibrate the sensors. Many scientists and researchers are looking forward to collectively using data from Landsat 8 and the Sentinel-2 constellation.

“We congratulate ESA on the successful launch of Sentinel-2b,” praised Jeff Masek, the Landsat 9 Project Scientist.

“This launch completes the Sentinel-2 constellation, providing a tremendous new resource for land management and science,” Masek continued.

“The Sentinel-2 constellation also provides great opportunities for fusion with Landsat 8 and the Landsat constellation, and US researchers look forward to continuing work with European colleagues on characterizing both sensing systems.”

Further information:
+ Second “color-vision” satellite launched for Copernicus, ESA
+ Sentinel-2 Teams Prepares for Space, ESA
+ Sentinel-2B satellite ready for launch from Kourou, Airbus press release