Sentinel 2B successfully launched

On March 7th, 2017, Arianespace, on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched the new earth imaging satellite Sentinel-2B. It has identical specifications to Sentinel-2A which has been operating since June 2015. The satellites have identical orbits but are positioned 180° apart, which allows them to cover the earth every 5 days instead of the 10 day intervals that Sentinel-2A was achieving on its own. Read more about it here.

The Sentinel imagery is freely available to the public and can be obtained from several sources, including Amazon’s AWS and the Google Cloud. Using the Amazon AWS source, which provides thumbnail previews, we have created special KMLs that allow you to preview the latest Sentinel imagery and create animations using the thumbnails.

Sentinel imagery is relatively low resolution at 10 m per pixel. It is still useful for very large scale phenomena. It is also used in Google Earth for the historical imagery global mosaics. The mosaics are mostly created from Landsat imagery because the Sentinel imagery only covers mid 2015 onwards. Sentinel imagery is slightly higher resolution, and now higher frequency, than Landsat imagery.

A much longer launch video can be found here.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.


  1. Several things :
    1 – Why is the new satellite’s resolution so low when others are much better as to 0.001 meter or 1milimeter resolution?

    2 – I noticed that in “Street View” while not on a street one can “walk” around and etc. What I did notice in doing so, walk around my own home, that the trees alters the terrain so much so as to create “false rises”. IE… Between my house and the river behind my house the ground slopes downward and has a level spot near the river, but, in SV and walking around, that area rises as high as 50 – 60 feet!! Solution : 3D radar. It is capable of “peering” through trees. Geologists utilizes this function all the time.

    3 – Fonts sizes on the Google Earth itself. When I am looking at an area, the fonts of town names, street names and feature names are extremely small!!! System needs a font sizing function independent to height of viewing or scalable.

    4 – I discovered a way to see horizontally while in standard mode (The one that is active when GE executes). However, a better way is to have the ability to “lock a point” (like at the base of a tower or a peak or anything else) and “Fly ” around that point with tilt, zoom and altitude controls. That would be great in tower site research, or just for the fun of it.

    5 – I saw the postings of the placement of the OPS’s KNL/KMZ file in the program. Why not have the ability under save> My Selected File> Save> Save at> [your chosen sub-directory and etc] for an auto save as when one clicks File> Save> Save My Places?

    6 – I am running Google Earth Pro on an XP running DOS which is the DOS from Windows 10. (My system can not run Windows 7 or higher, so I copy the three DOS OPS files and insert them into my Cross Platform Windows (XP).

    However, how will this version of GE operate with Linux Mint 17.3?

    I have much more but this will keep you folks busy for a while!

    Have a great day!
    Ed – KB8QEU

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      The highest resolution satellites are around 25cm per pixel (DigitalGlobe’s WorldView satellites). Anything better is aerial imagery. When you are designing an imaging satellite there is a trade off between resolution and coverage. ESA is interested in covering the whole world on a regular basis for environmental monitoring etc.

  2. 180 percent? Did you mean 180 degrees?

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