Just four days after launch, Sentinel-2A delivered its first images of Earth. With a swath width of 290 km, the satellite’s first acquisition began in Sweden and made a strip-like observation through central Europe and the Mediterranean, ending in Algeria. The data were relayed in real time to Italy’s Matera ground station, where teams eagerly awaited their arrival for processing.
First image from Sentinel-2A: Northwest Italy and southern France (Credits: Copernicus data (2015)/ESA)
While northern and central Europe were mostly cloudy, Italy’s typical sunny weather allowed the teams to get their first glimpse of the multispectral instrument’s capabilities over the northwestern part of the country and the French Riviera – and they were excited by what they saw. With a ground resolution of 10 m per pixel, the images show individual buildings in Milan, agricultural plots along the Po River, and ports along the southern French coast.
A close-up of Milan, Italy (Credits: Copernicus data (2015)/ESA)
The multispectral imager is being calibrated during the commissioning phase – which will take about three months to complete – but the quality of these first images already exceeds expectations. In addition to demonstrating the imager’s high resolution, these initial data also foreshadow the ...