The Sentinel 6 satellite will be the sentinel of the oceans of the European Earth observation network Copernicus. Christened Michael Freilich in honor of the oceanographer and former director of NASA’s Earth Observation Program, the first of two identical satellites that make up Sentinel 6 will go into orbit this Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
It will be launched into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s trendy space company, Space X.
The launch can be followed live on Saturday at 17:45 CET on the dedicated page created by Eumetsat or on the page of the European Space Agency (ESA). In social networks the label will continue # Sentinel6
This concentrated technology will make it possible to accurately measure the rise in the level of the oceans which, contrary to what may appear at first glance, is not homogeneous and therefore difficult to measure.
One of its missions will be to secure the fourth decade of sea level records, with an accuracy unthinkable 30 years ago, thanks to its Poseidon-4 instrument, an enhanced radar altimeter that will continue the work of the TOPEX Poseidon and Jason satellites of the POT.
In addition, it will provide detailed information on the atmosphere, sea surface, currents and waves that will advance the investigations of oceanographers and climate scientists.
Record of international collaboration between agencies
The Sentinel 6 satellite duo will map 95% of the non-icy sea surface every 10 days.
“Although Sentinel-6 is one of the missions of the Copernicus family of the European Union, its implementation is the result of the unique collaboration between ESA, NASA, Eumetsat and NOAA, with the contribution of the French space agency CNES” says the statement presented today by the European Space Agency (ESA).
At first, the two Sentinel 6 satellites will fly in tandem for 12 months, following each other only 30 seconds apart, which will allow scientists to calibrate their results and make them homogeneous with measurements from previous NASA missions.
The European Copernicus network makes your data freely accessible to the public. Many applications that we use on a daily basis are based on your system.
In close collaboration with other organizations such as the European Center for Medium-Term Forecasts or the European Space Agency, Copernicus proposes various services such as Atmosphere Monitoring, Climate Change, an Emergency Management Service or for the Earth.
They all use the data from the 7 satellites that the program already has in orbit. Each set of satellites has its characteristic capabilities. Sentinel 1 uses radar imagery, Sentinel 2 and 3 satellites use optical imagery, and Sentinel 5 satellite has detectors capable of measuring changes in the atmosphere and the concentrations of some greenhouse gases.
The Sentinel 6B satellite will launch in 2025 if all goes according to plan. Sentinel 4 will remain in geostationary orbit off Europe and North Africa measuring changes in the atmosphere and its launch is scheduled within 3 years.