Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Satellite Family Tree


Joint US-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is next in a line of Earth observation satellites that will gather the most accurate sea level data so far and how it will change over time. It is the product of a partnership between NASA and ESA, which have joined forces for the first time on a mission to Earth. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will join a long-standing family of Earth observation satellites from NASA and European partners including EUMETSAT and the French space agency CNES.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is part of the Sentinel-6 / Jason-CS mission, a collaboration between NASA, ESA, EUMETSAT and NOAA. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will be launched from Vandenberg Air Base no earlier than November 21, 2020.

For more information on the Sentinel-6 / Jason-CS mission, visit

Credit: NASA-JPL / Caltech / NOAA


The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is the culmination of decades of international research and development in satellite altimetry designed to measure the height of the sea surface.

In the early 1990s, NASA and the French Space Agency launched Topex / Posiedon, the first of a series of next-generation altitude missions that include Jason satellites.

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency has created its own successful Earth observation program called Copernicus, which includes the Sentinel series.

In an effort to maximize the technology and resources on both sides of the pond, NASA, NOAA, ESA, EUMETSAT, the European Commission have joined forces to create this satellite, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich.

The name itself is emblematic of a mission greater than the sum of all its parts. The first part of the name, “Sentinel-6”, comes from ESA’s Sentinel series of satellites. And the “Michael Freilich” part of the name honors Dr. Michael Freilich, the former director of NASA’s Division of Earth Sciences and a tireless advocate of advancing ocean measurements in an effort to better understand the planet we all live on.

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