I am trying to access Sentinel 1 data from Google Earth Engine. For my study area which is a part of the Himalayan region I am getting only few data from Sentinel 1B for the year 2019 and I am not getting any data from 1B for the year 2018. Shouldn’t we be getting equal number of data from both 1A and 1B. It would be really helpful if some one could explain the reason behind it.

//Importing Area of Interest
var kullu = ee.FeatureCollection("projects/ee-rchandraprabha15/assets/kullu");
kullu = kullu.geometry();
var start_date = '2019-01-01';
var end_date = '2019-12-31';

// Filter the collection for the VH and VV product from the 1A descending track
var collection = ee.ImageCollection('COPERNICUS/S1_GRD')
     .filterDate(start_date, end_date)
     .filter(ee.Filter.eq('instrumentMode', 'IW'))
     .filterMetadata('transmitterReceiverPolarisation', 'equals', ['VV', 'VH'])
     return ig.clip(kullu);
// List the platform and the no.of images
var orbits = ee.Dictionary(collection.aggregate_histogram('platform_number'));
print('List of platform number', orbits); // Check in console


For the year 2019: List of platform number: Object (2 properties) A:148 B:11

As you can see there are only 11 images from 1B for a whole year in my study region.

When considering Ascending and Descending orbits for the year 2019, List of orbitProperties_pass Object (2 properties) ASCENDING: 122 DESCENDING: 37

Why is there uneven distribution of data?

Here is the link to the code: https://code.earthengine.google.com/82cabcff67482fc7bde6ccae526784df

1 Answer 1


The Sentinel-1 observation scenario shows your where and how the earth is imaged with the S1 pair.


enter image description here

As you can see, your AOI is usually covered by only one satellite, so you'll get much more results

The image above refers to a specific time frame. The overall scenario is the same (pre S1B malfunction), with small changes based on maintenance or global events that require more coverage.

  • "The mission is composed of a constellation of two satellites, Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B, sharing the same orbital plane." Then why is there difference in the observation scenario of the two platforms? I checked with the observation scenario for a specific time period using the KML file provided by ESA, it seems to be completely irregular. I am failing to understands why the observation scenario is different. It would be really helpful if I get some visual representation of how the constellation revolves and acquires data. May 23, 2022 at 7:13

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