SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Sentinel-6A Michael Freilich satellite, the first of two US-European NASA and ESA satellites that will measure sea level change. The rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.
Launch window begins at 12:17pm ET (05:17pm UTC)
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The joint NASA/ESA satellite will collect data on sea level changes and atmospheric conditions to improve weather forecasts and climate models.
The Sentinel-6 satellite will continue the oceanographic work of the Jason-3 satellite that was launched in 2016. Sentinel-6 is designed to help scientists study climate change and improve weather forecasting. Sentinel-6 is able to measure the sea level of 90% of the world’s oceans with millimeter accuracy, which is more accurate than any other satellite. It will also collect data on atmospheric temperature and humidity. Among other instruments, the satellite includes a radar altimeter for high-precision sea-surface topography measurements and a GNSS-RO (GNSS Radio Occultation) instrument to measure atmospheric temperature, pressure and water vapor.
The satellite’s full name, Sentinel-6A Michael Freilich, is a tribute to Michael Freich, the former director of NASA’s Earth Science division who passed away earlier this year. Sentinel-6A’s twin satellite, Sentinel-6B, is scheduled to launch in 2025. The two Sentinel satellites will continue a decades-long mission of measuring climate change started by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite in 1992.
Following separation, the first stage will be landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4).
This will be the 22nd SpaceX launch of 2020, a new record for most SpaceX launches in a year.
Courtesy of SpaceX
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