Alaska Satellite Facility - Distributed Active Archive Center

Sentinel-1 – Instrument

  • Sentinel-1B: Soyuz rocket, launched 25 April 2016, from Kourou, French Guiana
  • Sentinel-1A: Soyuz rocket, launched 3 April 2014, from Kourou, French Guiana

Orbit: Polar, sun-synchronous at an altitude of 693 km

Revisit time: Six days with two-satellite constellation of Sentinel-1A and 1B. Before 1B launched, revisit time for Sentinel-1A alone was 12 days.

Instrument: C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) at 5.405 GHz

Operational Modes
  • Interferometric wide-swath (IW) at 250 km and 5×20 m resolution, using TOPSAR
  • Wave (WV) images of 20×20 km and 5×5 m resolution (at 100 km intervals)
  • Stripmap (SM) at 80 km swath and 5×5 m resolution
  • Extra wide swath (EW) of 400 km and 20×40 m resolution, using TOPSAR
  • Supports operation in single polarization (HH or VV) and dual polarization (HH+HV or VV+VH)
  • Polarization implemented through one transmit chain (switchable to H or V) and two parallel receive chains for H and V polarization
  • SM, IW and EW are available in single (HH or VV) or dual polarization (HH+HV or VV+VH)
  • WV is single polarization only (HH or VV)

Receiving stations: SAR data: Svalbard, Norway; Matera, Italy; Maspalomas, Spain; and via laser link through EDRS (European Data Relay System)

Telemetry, tracking and command: via Kiruna, Sweden

Main applications: Monitoring sea ice, oil spills, marine winds and waves, land-use change, land deformation, and to respond to emergencies such as floods and earthquakes

Mission: Developed, operated, and managed by various ESA establishments

Life: Minimum of seven years

Satellites: 2.8 m long, 2.5 m wide, 4 m high with 2×10 m-long solar arrays and a 12 m-long radar antenna

Mass: 2300 kg (including 130 kg fuel)

Funding: ESA Member States and the European Union Prime contractors: Thales Alenia Space, Italy, for the satellite; Airbus Defence and Space, Germany, for the SAR instrument

Content on ASF’s Sentinel web pages is adapted from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel website.

This time-lapse video shows Sentinel-1A being prepared for launch and its liftoff on 3 April 2014 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Credit: ESA – S. Corvaja,  M. Pedoussaut, 2014.

Sentinel-1B launches on 25 April 2016 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. © ESA/CNES/Arianespace.