Thursday , November 26 2020

SpaceX launches satellite for NASA and ESA to monitor rising sea levels



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 with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch 4E Complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

With the size of a small pickup, the Sentinel-6 Michael Frelich will expand an almost 30-year-old continuous sea-level database collected by the ongoing collaboration of US and European satellites while improving weather forecasts and providing detailed information on large ocean currents to support boat navigation near the coast.

Upon arrival in orbit, the spacecraft detached from the second phase of the rocket and unfolded its twin solar arrays. The ground controllers successfully obtained the satellite signal, and initial telemetry reports showed that the spacecraft was 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, which began in 1992 with the TOPEX / Poseidon satellite and continued with Jason-1 (2001), OSTM / Jason-2 (2008), and finally, Jason-3, which has been waking up the oceans since 2016.

Together, these satellites have secured an almost 30-year record of accurate measurements of sea level by tracking the rate at which our oceans are rising in response to a warming climate. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will hand over the baton to his twin Sentinel-6B in 2025, extending the current climate record for at least another 10 years between the two satellites.

Commenting on the launch, Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, said: “The Earth is changing and this satellite will help deepen our understanding of how. Variable land processes affect sea levels globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely. “International co-operation is crucial both for understanding these changes and for informing coastal communities around the world.”


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