Copernicus Sentinel-3 Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR)

The European Commission, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), began an ambitious Earth observation initiative called Copernicus to monitor the state of global environment and address climate-change issues.  As part of this initiative, ESA developed a series of satellite missions that are called Sentinels.  The Sentinel-3 series includes four missions, two, 3A and 3B, that are operationally active, and two, 3C and 3D, that await their launches in 2024 and 2025, respectively.  Sentinel-3A was launched on February 16th 2016 and Sentinel-3B was launched on April 25th 2018.  Both are multi-instrument platforms that focus on ocean surface topography as well as land and sea surface temperature.  Each platform carries the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI), as well as a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and a Microwave Radiometer (MWR).

The SLSTR instrument was developed to continue and extend measurements made by the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) instruments aboard the European Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites 1 and 2 and the Advanced ATSR on Envisat. The SLSTR has 9 bands covering the visible, shortwave infrared, and thermal infrared areas of the spectrum.


Technical Specifications

Orbit: 815 km, 10:00 am. mean local solar time. sun-synchronous, polar
Repeat Cycle: 27 days
Swath Dimensions: 1420 km, global coverage every 4 days
Weight: 1250 kg
Spatial Resolution:

0.5 km Vis/SWIR @ nadir

1 km TIR @ nadir

Quantization: 10 bits
Field of View 68.5 deg
Wavebands 9 bands selectable across range: 0.555 µm to 10.85 µm

Design Life:


5 years


Operator: EUMETSAT

Channels (Bands)

Band λ centre (μm) Width (μm) Function Comments Res. (m)
S1 0.555 0.02 Cloud screening, vegetation monitoring, aerosol Visible Near IR Solar reflectance bands 500
S2 0.659 0.02 NDVI, vegetation monitoring, aerosol
S3 0.865 0.02 NDVI, cloud flagging, Pixel co-registration
S4 1.375 0.015 Cirrus detection over land Short-Wave IR
S5 1.61 0.06 Cloud clearing, ice, snow, vegetation monitoring
S6 2.25 0.05 Vegetation state and cloud clearing
S7 3.74 0.38 SST, LST, Active fire Thermal infra-red Ambient bands (200 K - 320 K) 1000
S8 10.85 0.9 SST, LST, Active fire
S9 12 1 SST, LST
F1 3.74 0.38 Active fire Thermal infra-red fire emission bands
F2 10.85 0.9 Active fire

Source: Sentinel Users Guide