July 19, 2023



The programme includes a space component composed of six families of satellites (Sentinels) to supply observations needed for deployment of services for operational monitoring of air quality, oceans, land use and land planning, emergency situations and climate change. These observations are complemented by contributing space missions managed by other entities (member states, commercial missions).

Observation of oceans and continents
Two satellites in polar orbit
Payload: C-band radar imager
Launch: Sentinel-1A 3 April 2014, Sentinel-1B 25 April 2016
Observation of continents: vegetation, soils, coastal areas
Two satellites in polar orbit
Payload: high resolution optical imager 
Launch: Sentinel-3A 16 February 2016, Sentinel-3B 25 April 2018
Observation of the oceans and continents: ocean topography, surface temperature, colour (spectral response)
Two satellites with a polar orbit
Payload: radar altimeter, large field-of-view optic imagers.
Sentinel-3A launch: 16 February 2016 (Sentinel-3B: end of 2017)
Observation of atmospheric chemical composition at high temporal and spatial resolution
Payload: UV-VIS-PIR spectrometer and IR sounder. Two sets on board MTG satellites
Delivery: end 2023 for launch end 2024
Gap-filler mission before the arrival of Sentinel-5
Observation of atmospheric chemical composition
Payload: TROPOMI
Launch: 13 October 2018
Observation of atmospheric chemical composition
Payload (on board post-EPS MetOp): UV-VIS-PIR spectrometer, IR sounder, visible imager, multidirectional and multipolarization imager (3MI)
Delivery of first unit end 2023 for launch early 2025
Jason-CS / Sentinel-6
Reference mission for oceans and large rivers topography
Two satellites
Payload: altimeter , radiometer, DORIS
Launch: Sentinel-6 MF 20 November 2020, Sentinel-6 B in 2025/26

Sentinels 1, 2 and 3 will have C and D units added in the years ahead to replace the A and B satellites, thus ensuring data continuity.

However, an upgrade of the space component of Copernicus is planned to meet users’ evolving needs, above all to improve data continuity, with the Sentinel New Generation series (Sent NG) and new observations from the six Sentinel Expansion missions now in development for launch between 2026 and 2028:

  • CO2M (Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring)
  • LSTM (Land Surface Temperature Monitoring)
  • CRISTAL (Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter)
  • CIMR (Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer)
  • CHIME (Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment)
  • ROSE-L: Copernicus L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar

These dedicated missions will be complemented by contributing data missions integrating data from European commercial constellations to meet more targeted needs with improved revisit frequency, resolution or responsive delivery.