Copernicus Masters Background

Who can access Sentinel data and how?

A free, full and open data policy has been adopted by the EU for the Copernicus programme, which foresees access by all users to the Sentinels core products. Outlined below are the main data access portals, however there are a number of others available that are not mentioned. As a participant of the Copernicus Masters, you are not restricted to using a specific portal for acquiring data.    

Data Access Portals

Copernicus Open Access Hub: Managed by ESA, the Copernicus Open Access Hub and provides complete, free and open access to Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 products through an interactive graphical user interface. Following registration, users can immediately download Sentinel products generated automatically from all acquired data. Please note that depending on the mission and the acquisition time of the product, the full operational qualification may not yet be completed.


The use of Sentinel data assumes acknowledgement of the general Terms and Conditions for the use and distribution of Sentinel data. Registration is required to download the products. If users have any questions, then they can simply contact the Services Coordinated Interface (SCI) team via email at for support, in particular for:

  • Clarifications regarding the process of registration;
  • Sentinel enquiries;
  • Reporting problems related to products or service quality.

For further information on the Sentinel missions, you can visit the Sentinel Online portal operated by ESA. The different Use Typologies for Sentinel data and the corresponding access rights are documented in the Data Access web pages. Copernicus Online Data Access (CODA): Managed by EUMETSAT, CODA provides access to the Sentinel-3 products through a 12-month rolling archive with access to Level 1 and Level 2 Marine data in different latency modes (Near Real-Time, Short Time Critical, Non Time Critical). In future, products from Sentinel-4 and -5 instruments and Sentinel-6 satellites. For full information about EUMETSAT, their associated data delivery services, and user support, visit their website:



Data Access for Mobile Developers (API) For the Space App Camps, initiated by ESA and organized by AZO, a dedicated API framework for iOS and Android has been developed. It enables developers to easily integrate maps in their Apps providing their users with compelling visualizations of Geo-information. A variety of charts are returned as PNG-image or Scalable Vector-Graphics (SVG) for client-based interaction. From time-series to snapshots from space, maps become truly interactive with the Ramani API, making smartphone Apps more engaging and fun!

Research and User Support (RUS)

The RUS Service is the “New Expert Service for Sentinel Users” funded by the European Commission, managed by the European Space Agency, and operated by CS SI and its partners. It offers:

  • Free access to a powerful computing environment based on scalable Virtual Machines, for non-commercial activities;
  • Access to Webinars in order to help users benefit from Copernicus missions data. List of upcoming Webinars is available here;
  • Focus on future trainers with special “Train-The-Trains” sessions;
  • Personalized advice and assistance for visualizing, converting and interpreting the data;
  • Help users to tap into and exploit Sentinel data resources;
  • Support of users through the use of Virtual Machines with processing facilities;
  • Integration of your own algorithms on the existing Virtual Machines.

RUS is freely available for everyone, from the first-time data users (general public, students) to specialists-users such as researchers, scientists, trainers, decision-makers and public authorities.

Copernicus Services

Data is available through the web portals operated by the various Copernicus service lines:

For the Land, Atmosphere and Marine services, anyone can access the data but registration is mandatory. Registration is free-of-charge. For the time being, there is no common registration facility. Users interested in data coming from several web portals must therefore register on each web portal separately. For the Emergency Management service, data production can be triggered only by “authorized users” but the maps produced by the service are available on the service web portal and can be downloaded without registering.

DIAS Platforms

To facilitate and standardise access to data, the European Commission has funded the deployment of five cloud-based platforms providing centralised access to Copernicus data and information, as well as to processing tools. These platforms are known as the DIAS, or Data and Information Access Services. All DIAS platforms provide access to Copernicus Sentinel data, to the information products from Copernicus’ six operational services, and to additions commercial satellite or non-space data sets, together with cloud-based tools (open source and/or on a pay-per-use basis). Below are the five DIAS platforms:

Copernicus Programme

Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. It provides accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. This initiative is headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). Copernicus is served by a family of dedicated satellites, called Sentinels, and contributing missions (existing commercial and public satellites). The Sentinel satellites are specifically designed to meet the needs of the Copernicus services and their users. Since the launch of Sentinel-1A in 2014, the European Union set in motion a process to place a constellation of almost 20 more satellites in orbit before 2030. The Sentinels each provide a unique set of observations:

  • Sentinel-1A and -1B provide all-weather, day and night radar images and were launched respectively in April 2014 and April 2016.
  • Sentinel-2A, launched on 23 June 2015, is designed to deliver high-resolution optical images for land services. The second satellite, Sentinel-2B, joined its twin in orbit on 7 March 2017.
  • Sentinel-3A launched on 16 February 2016 and provides data for services relevant to the ocean and land. The second satellite Sentinel-3B will join its twin in orbit on 25 April 2018.
  • Sentinel-4 and -5 will provide data for atmospheric composition monitoring from geostationary and polar orbits, respectively.
  • Sentinel-5 Precursor is the forerunner of Sentinel-5 to provide timely data on a multitude of trace gases and aerosols affecting air quality and climate. Sentinel-5P was taken into orbit on a Rockot launcher on 13 October 2017.
  • Sentinel-6 carries a radar altimeter to provide high-precision and timely observations of the topography of the global

The Space Component of Copernicus is managed by ESA and serves users with satellite data available through the Sentinels and the Contributing Missions at national, European and international levels.


The following sources were used to create the content for this page: Copernicus EU: European Space Agency: ESA Sentinel Online: EUMETSAT: