8-10 October 2019
Europe/Amsterdam timezone

Flight correlation and characterisation of Sentinel-2A/B satellite thermal behavior

8 Oct 2019, 17:20
Newton ()


thermal analysis and software tools Thermal Analysis and Software Tools


Martin Altenburg (Airbus)


The Sentinel-2 mission is part of the EU Copernicus program. Today, it counts two polar-orbiting satellites, S-2A & S-2B, placed in the same sun-synchronous orbit and phased at 180° to each other. Two more satellites are expected to be launched in the near future. Launched since June 2015 for S-2A and March 2017 for S-2B, these satellites provide high resolution and multi-spectral images of the Earth but also a large amount of precious in-flight data regarding the thermal behaviour of both the platforms and the instruments.
In order to exploit these data, a joint in-flight thermal correlation and characterisation exercise has been carried out by Airbus Friedrichshafen and Airbus Toulouse (lead by ESA). This presentation will describe the main challenges and conclusions of this activity focusing on the satellite point of view (instrument results will be presented separately), including:

  • Development of the mathematical model, the execution of the thermal tests in different facilities (IABG and ESTEC) and the corresponding correlation activities.
  • Methods for analysing in-orbit data for the whole lifetime of a system, including study of thermal behaviour and effective use of both the platform and the instrument
  • Comparison of behaviour between models (S-2A versus S-2B)
  • Integration of in-orbit data into thermal simulations
  • Correlation of thermal models with in-orbit measurements
  • Summary of the lessons learned from the project for the future programs.

Primary author

Presentation Materials