NASA, US and European Partners Launch Mission to Monitor Global Ocean

New Delhi: A joint U.S.-European satellite tv for pc constructed to observe international sea ranges lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Saturday at 9:17 a.m. PST (12:17 p.m. EST).

About the dimensions of a small pickup truck, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will prolong a virtually 30-year steady dataset on sea degree collected by an ongoing collaboration of U.S. and European satellites whereas enhancing climate forecasts and offering detailed data on large-scale ocean currents to help ship navigation close to coastlines.

“The Earth is changing, and this satellite will help deepen our understanding of how,” stated Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “The changing Earth processes are affecting sea level globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely. International collaboration is critical to both understanding these changes and informing coastal communities around the world.”

After arriving in orbit, the spacecraft separated from the rocket’s second stage and unfolded its twin units of photo voltaic arrays. Ground controllers efficiently acquired the satellite tv for pc’s sign, and preliminary telemetry experiences confirmed the spacecraft in good well being. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will now endure a collection of exhaustive checks and calibrations earlier than it begins gathering science knowledge in just a few months’ time.

Continuing the Legacy

The spacecraft is known as in honor of Michael Freilich, the previous director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, who was a number one determine in advancing ocean observations from area. Freilich handed away Aug. 5, 2020. His shut household and mates attended the launch of the satellite tv for pc that now carries his identify.

“Michael was a tireless force in Earth sciences. Climate change and sea level rise know no national borders, and he championed international collaboration to confront the challenge,” stated ESA (European Space Agency) Director of Earth Observation Programmes Josef Aschbacher. “It’s fitting that a satellite in his name will continue the ‘gold standard’ of sea level measurements for the next half-decade. This European-U.S. cooperation is exemplary and will pave the way for more cooperation opportunities in Earth observation.”

“Mike helped ensure NASA was a steadfast partner with scientists and space agencies worldwide, and his love of oceanography and Earth science helped us improve understanding of our beautiful planet,” added Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA affiliate administrator for science on the company’s headquarters. “This satellite so graciously named for him by our European partners will carry out the critical work Mike so believed in – adding to a legacy of crucial data about our oceans and paying it forward for the benefit of future generations.”

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will proceed the ocean degree document that started in 1992 with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite tv for pc and continued with Jason-1 (2001), OSTM/Jason-2 (2008), and ultimately Jason-3, which has been observing the oceans since 2016. Together, these satellites have offered a virtually 30-year document of exact measurements of sea degree peak whereas monitoring the speed at which our oceans are rising in response to our warming local weather. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will go the baton to its twin, Sentinel-6B, in 2025, extending the present local weather document no less than one other 10 years between the 2 satellites.

Global Science Impact

This newest mission marks the primary worldwide involvement in Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme. Along with measuring sea ranges for nearly the complete globe, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich’s suite of scientific devices will even make atmospheric measurements that can be utilized to enhance local weather fashions and assist meteorologists make higher climate forecasts.

“NASA is but one of several partners involved in Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, but this satellite speaks to the very core of our mission,” stated NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Whether 800 miles above Earth with this remarkable spacecraft or traveling to Mars to look for signs of life, whether providing farmers with agricultural data or aiding first responders with our Disasters program, we are tirelessly committed not just to learning and exploring, but to having an impact where it’s needed.”

The preliminary orbit of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is about 12.5 miles (20.1 kilometers) decrease than its final operational orbit of 830 miles (1,336 kilometers). In lower than a month, the satellite tv for pc will obtain instructions to lift its orbit, trailing Jason-Three by about 30 seconds. Mission scientists and engineers will then spend a few yr cross-calibrating knowledge collected by the 2 satellites to make sure the continuity of sea degree measurements from one satellite tv for pc to the following. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will then take over as the first sea degree satellite tv for pc and Jason-Three will present a supporting position till the top of its mission.

“This mission is the very essence of partnership, precision, and incredible long-term focus,” stated Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission. “Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich not only provides a critical measurement, it is essential for continuing this historic multi-decadal sea level record.”

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and Sentinel-6B compose the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) mission developed in partnership with ESA. ESA is creating the brand new Sentinel household of missions to help the operational wants of the Copernicus program, managed by the European Commission. Other companions embrace the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with funding help from the European Commission and technical help from France’s National Centre for Space Studies.

“The data from this satellite, which is so critical for climate monitoring and weather forecasting, will be of unprecedented accuracy,” stated EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier. “These data, which can only be obtained by measurements from space, will bring a wide range of benefits to people around the globe, from safer ocean travel to more precise prediction of hurricane paths, from greater understanding of sea level rise to more accurate seasonal weather forecasts, and so much more.”

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, is contributing three science devices to every Sentinel-6 satellite tv for pc: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer for Climate, the Global Navigation Satellite System – Radio Occultation, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA can be contributing launch companies, floor techniques supporting operation of the NASA science devices, the science knowledge processors for 2 of those devices, and help for the U.S. element of the worldwide Ocean Surface Topography Science Team. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based mostly on the company’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


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