The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010. Following a period of rapid growth and transition the agency has made significant advancements towards addressing its mandate of deriving greater value from space science and technology for the benefit of South African society.

New High resolution data from Sentinel-2 for Land Monitoring

on . Posted in SANSA Earth Observation News

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel 2A was successfully launched on a 30m tall Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) on the 23 June 2015. The new satellite will provide a wealth of information for various applications, including among others; agriculture and forestry, water resource management (lakes & coastal areas), disaster management, human settlement monitoring, land use/cover monitoring, etc. Essentially, the data will provide timely information (10 days revisit) for improved food security, improved service delivery, and rapid response to disasters.


Figure 1 Sentinel 2A (

According to ESA’s website ( sentinel 2 is a two-satellite constellation, which carries “an innovative wide-swath, high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of our land and vegetation”. The second satellite, Sentinel 2B will be launched in 2016. The two will provide a global coverage every 5 days, in the meantime; Sentinel 2A will cover the whole globe every 10 days. For more information on Sentinel 2 visit

Some facts of Interest

Spectral bands: Multispectral imager (MSI) covering 13 spectral bands (443 nm–2190 nm) at spatial resolutions of 10 m (4 visible and near-infrared bands), 20 m (6 red-edge/shortwave-infrared bands) and 60 m (3 atmospheric correction bands)

Swath width: 290 km

Life span:Minimum of seven years

Orbit: Polar, Sun-synchronous at altitude of 786 km

Main applications: Monitoring agriculture, forests, land-use change, land-cover change; mapping biophysical variables such as leaf chlorophyll content, leaf water content, leaf area index; monitoring coastal and inland waters; risk mapping and disaster mapping

Data access: (FREE)

Product Processing Levels:

Level-1B data is radiometrically corrected radiance data. The physical geometric model is refined using available ground control points and appended to the product, but not applied.

Level-1C product provides geocoded top-of-atmosphere TOA reflectance, with sub-pixel multispectral and multi-date registration. Cloud and land/water masks are associated with the product.

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