SpaceX launches satellite for NASA and ESA to monitor sea level rise



Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will now undergo a series of exhaustive checks and calibrations before starting to collect scientific data in a few months.

SpaceX has launched a satellite for NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) built to monitor global sea levels.

The mission was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

About the size of a small pickup truck, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will extend a nearly 30-year continuous data set above sea level collected from an ongoing collaboration of US and European satellites, improving weather forecasts and providing detailed information on ocean currents on large scale to support naval navigation near the coast.

After arriving in orbit, the spacecraft separated from the rocket’s second stage and deployed its twin sets of solar panels. Ground controllers successfully acquired the satellite signal, and initial telemetry reports showed the spacecraft to be in good health.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will now undergo a series of exhaustive checks and calibrations before starting to collect scientific data in a few months.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will continue the sea level record begun in 1992 with the TOPEX / Poseidon satellite and continued with Jason-1 (2001), OSTM / Jason-2 (2008) and, finally, Jason-3, which he observed oceans since 2016.

Together, these satellites have provided a nearly 30-year record of precise sea-level height measurements, tracking how quickly our oceans are rising in response to our warming climate. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will pass the baton to his twin, Sentinel-6B, in 2025, extending the current climate record by at least another 10 years between the two satellites.

Commenting on the launch, Karen St. Germain, Director of NASA’s Division of Earth Sciences, said, “The Earth is changing and this satellite will help us deepen our understanding of how. Changing land processes are affecting sea levels globally, but the impact on local communities varies greatly. International collaboration is essential both to understand these changes and to inform coastal communities around the world. “


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