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U.S. Geological Survey distribution of European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 data

March 31, 2017

A partnership established between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) allows for USGS storage and redistribution of images acquired by the MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) on the European Union's Sentinel-2 satellite mission. The MSI data are acquired from a pair of satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, which are part of a larger set of ESA missions focusing on different aspects of Earth observation. The primary purpose of the Sentinel-2 series is to collect multispectral imagery over the Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters. Sentinel-2A was launched in 2015 and Sentinel-2B launched in 2017.

The collaborative effort between ESA and USGS provides for public access and redistribution of global acquisitions of Sentinel-2 data at no cost, which allows users to download the MSI imagery from USGS access systems such as Earth- Explorer, in addition to the ESA Sentinels Scientific Data Hub. The MSI sensor acquires 13 spectral bands that are highly complementary to data acquired by the USGS Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+). The product options from USGS include a Full-Resolution Browse (FRB) image product generated by USGS, along with a 100-kilometer (km) by 100-km tile-based Level-1C top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance product that is very similar (but not identical) to the currently (2017) distributed ESA Level 1C product.

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