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New Copernicus satellite to monitor sea-level rise launched

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21/11/2020
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The Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite tv for pc has been launched into orbit round Earth on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Utilizing the most recent radar altimetry know-how, this new satellite tv for pc is ready to  present a brand new overview of ocean topography and advance the long-term report of sea-surface peak measurements that started in 1992 – measurements which can be important for local weather science, for policy-making and, finally, for shielding the lives of thousands and thousands prone to sea-level rise.

Carrying the 1.2 tonne Sentinel-6 satellite tv for pc, the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Vandenberg Air Drive Base in California, US, at 17:17 GMT (18:17 CET, 09:17 PST) on 21 November. The satellite tv for pc was delivered into orbit slightly below an hour after liftoff and speak to was established on the floor station in Alaska at 19:49 CET.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich liftoff replay

ESA’s Director of Earth Commentary Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, stated, “I am extraordinarily proud to have seen Copernicus Sentinel-6 liftoff this night and know that it is properly on its technique to beginning its mission of continuous the measurements of sea stage which can be so wanted to grasp and monitor the worrying pattern of rising seas. I’d not solely prefer to thank the ESA groups which have labored so laborious to get so far, but in addition the EC, Eumetsat, NASA, NOAA and CNES, and, in fact, we very a lot stay up for additional fruitful cooperation between our respective organisations.”

With thousands and thousands of individuals residing in coastal communities around the globe, rising seas are on the prime of the listing of main issues linked to local weather change. Monitoring sea-surface peak is vital to understanding the adjustments going down in order that decision-makers have the proof to implement applicable insurance policies to assist curb local weather change and for authorities to take motion to guard susceptible communities.

Over the past three many years, the French–US Topex-Poseidon and Jason mission sequence served as reference missions, and together with ESA’s earlier ERS and Envisat satellites, in addition to at the moment’s CryoSat and Copernicus Sentinel-Three, they’ve proven how sea stage has risen about Three.2 mm on common yearly. Extra alarmingly, this price of rise has been accelerating; over the previous couple of years, the common price of rise has been Four.eight mm a 12 months.

Measuring sea-level change

Now in orbit, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will quickly decide up the baton and lengthen this dataset – a dataset that’s the ‘gold normal’ for local weather research. The mission includes two an identical satellites launched sequentially – so in 5 years, Copernicus Sentinel-6B shall be launched to take over. The mission as an entire will make sure the continuity of information till no less than 2030.

Every satellite tv for pc carries a radar altimeter, which works by measuring the time it takes for radar pulses to journey to Earth’s floor and again once more to the satellite tv for pc. Mixed with exact satellite tv for pc location knowledge, altimetry measurements yield the peak of the ocean floor.

The satellites’ instrument bundle additionally consists of a complicated microwave radiometer that accounts for the quantity of water vapour in ambiance, which impacts the pace of the altimeter’s radar pulses.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 in motion

Whereas heritage has been key to the mission’s design, Sentinel-6 brings, for the primary time, artificial aperture radar into the altimetry reference mission time sequence. To make sure that no bias is launched into the time sequence, the radar instrument operates in a steady burst mode, concurrently offering typical low-resolution mode measurements and the improved efficiency of artificial aperture radar processing.

To make sure that the info time sequence is steady regardless of the change of instrument applied sciences, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is spending its first 12 months in orbit flying simply 30 seconds behind Jason-Three.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 orbital tracks

Orbiting at an altitude of over 1300 km and reaching 66°N and 66°S, Sentinel-6 supplies enough measurements to map the peak of the ocean floor over 95% of the world’s ice-free oceans each 10 days.

Whereas Sentinel-6 is likely one of the European Union’s household of Copernicus missions, its implementation is the results of a novel cooperation between the European Fee ESA, Eumetsat, NASA and NOAA, with contribution from the CNES French house company.

The European Fee’s Director-Normal for Defence Trade and Area, Timo Pesonen, stated, “We’re very happy to welcome this newcomer to the EU’s fleet of Copernicus Sentinel satellites. Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will allow delivering enhanced merchandise and knowledge in regards to the oceans and the ambiance to enhance the every day lives of our residents. The arrival of this satellite tv for pc is one other success for Copernicus, for Europe, for all mission companions and worldwide.”

ESA has been liable for the event of the Poseidon-Four radar altimeter and growth of the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, as an entire. It’s also liable for the procurement of Copernicus Sentinel-6B on behalf of the European Fee and Eumetsat.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 on its way

Switch of possession goes to the EC on the level of liftoff. ESA takes care of the early orbit part in addition to in-orbit verification planning, and helps flight operations carried out by Eumetsat.

Eumetsat is liable for the event of the bottom section and for operations after the launch and early orbit phases. Eumetsat processes the info and delivers the info merchandise providers to European customers.

Eumetsat’s Director Normal, Alain Ratier, stated, “Information from Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich would be the most correct but and shall be used to realize a deeper understanding of world sea-level rise, a key indicator of local weather change. The info will even be used for climate forecasting, from bettering the accuracy of seasonal forecasts to predicting the tracks of hurricanes and cyclones.”

NASA has the accountability for the launch providers, the event of the microwave radiometer, the laser retroreflector and GNSS radio occultation receiver. It additionally supplies floor section help and contributes to the operations and knowledge processing within the US. NASA and NOAA share accountability for the distribution of information merchandise to customers within the US.

“Mike Freilich helped guarantee NASA was a steadfast associate with scientists and house companies worldwide, and his love of oceanography and Earth science helped us enhance the understanding of our stunning planet,” stated Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Affiliate Administrator for Science on the Company’s Headquarters in Washington. “This satellite tv for pc, so graciously named for him by our European companions, will perform the vital work Mike so believed in – including to a legacy of essential knowledge about our oceans and paying it ahead for the advantage of future generations.”


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