Lift-off was at 8:57 p.m. Tuesday atop a Rockot launch vehicle from Plesetsk, Russia, and the first signal that the spacecraft was operational was received by the Kiruna station in Sweden about 90 minutes later, as program staff cheered at the ESA operations center in Darmstadt, Germany.
The satellite has already deployed its solar panels, ESA spokesman Juan Miro said.
Once the testing and calibration phase is completed in approximately five months, Sentinel-3A will provide marine data to users from European and other countries.
The third in the Sentinel array, 3A is above all an ocean satellite designed to gather data and measure sea level, temperature and color, as well as the thickness of ice mantles.
This information will help in monitoring changes in sea levels, pollution and biological productivity of the oceans.
The information will be distributed for free to users around the world and data related to the Earth’s surface will be managed by ESA at its center in Esrin, Italy.
The main goal of the Copernicus program is to improve environmental management, and understand and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Data acquired by Sentinel-3A’s instruments will add to radar images provided by Sentinal-1A and high-resolution optical images gathered by Sentinel-2A. EFE