Copernicus satellite launched to monitor sea level



C.with the participation of the Portuguese company Critical Software, based in Coimbra, in its development, in terms of ‘software’ and system, the satellite, baptized «Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael obviously‘, in honor of the formerdirector the Earth Sciences Division, the NASA, it will measure changes in sea level, provide data for oceanography, meteorology, and ultimately protect life on Earth due to rising sea levels.

“I am extremely proud to have seen the Copernicus Sentinel-6 take off tonight and I know it is about to begin its mission to continue the sea level measurements that are so necessary to understand and monitor the worrying trend of rising sea “, said in a statement on Director Earth observation programs of the European Space Agency (THAT, in the acronym in English), Josef Aschbacher.

Second THAT, who led the project, these measurements will help to understand the changes that are taking place in coastal zones, with the aim of contributing to the decision-making process in implementing appropriate policies to help contain climate change and to protect the most vulnerable communities.

Over the past three decades, Franco-US missions Topex-Poseidon ‘and’ Jason ‘served as a reference and, in combination with previous satellites of THAT, ERS is Envisat, as well as current CryoSat and Copernicus Sentinel-3, showed that sea level rose by an average of 3.2 millimeters every year. In recent years, the average rate of increase has been 4.8mm per year.

Now in orbit, or ‘Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael obviously‘will extend this dataset to climate studies. The mission includes two identical satellites launched in sequence. Within five years, the Copernicus Sentinel-6B will be launched to take the lead. The mission as a whole will ensure data continuity at least until 2030.

The satellite carries a radar altimeter, which works by measuring the time it takes for radar pulses to reach the Earth’s surface and return to the satellite. In combination with accurate satellite position data, measurements of altimetry provide the height of the sea surface.

The satellite instrument package also includes an advanced microwave radiometer that counts the amount of water in the atmosphere, that affections the speed of the altimeter radar pulses.

Sentinel-6 is part of the Copernicus mission family of the European Union. Its implementation is the result of cooperation between the European Commission, THAT, Eumetsat, NASA is NOAA, with the contribution of the French space agency CNES.

“We are delighted to welcome this newcomer to the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel satellite fleet. Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael obviously it will enable the provision of better products and information about the oceans and the atmosphere to improve the daily lives of our citizens. The arrival of this satellite is another success for Copernicus, for Europe, for all mission partners and for the whole world “, said the directorEuropean Defense and Space Industry General, Timo Pesonen, quoted by THAT.

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