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Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Centre (S3MPC)

Sentinel 3 lift off.  Courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA)

Completed project

Project start: February 2017  |  Project end: December 2021
Principal Investigator: Dr Graham Quartly
Other participants from PML: Dr Francesco Nencioli

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Sentinel-3A satellite in February 2016 and Sentinel-3B in April 2018, as the start of a long-term programme in making consistent high-accuracy measurements to enable climate research.

The payload includes various scientific instruments including OLCI (Ocean & Land Colour Instrument), SLSTR (Sea & Land Surface Temperature Radiometer) and STM (Surface Topography Mission), which incorporates a radar altimeter and a microwave radiometer. The S3MPC is responsible for monitoring the performance of all these sensors, both in terms of internal calibration values and in the quality of the derived geophysical variables.

PML is involved in the STM component, both looking at validation of currents and waves in the coastal zone, and providing co-ordination of the work of the others Expert Support Laboratories. These assessments are performed on each 27-day cycle of data (see Data Product Quality Reports) with a longer-term perspective provided through annual reviews. Problems that are identified through this analysis may lead to changes in the processing of data disseminated to all, with occasional Full Mission Reprocessing to maintain the consistency of the entire record.