On December 20, NASA announced it awarded SpaceX a contract valued at approximately $94 million to launch the Sentinel-6B satellite. The Sentinel-6B mission is scheduled to launch until November 2025 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will lift off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission is a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.
Sentinel-6B is an Earth-observing satellite that is uniquely shaped like a 'golden house'. It is designed to collect sea-level data from orbit that will provide scientists with insight about how climate change is affecting weather phenomena and how fast it is reshaping Earth's coastlines. “Sentinel-6B will continue the long-term global sea level data record begun in 1992 by Topex/Poseidon followed by Jason 1, 2, 3, and Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich,” said NASA representatives in a press release.
SpaceX launched the satellite's twin named ‘Sentinel-6 Micheal Freilich’, atop a Falcon 9 rocket in November 2020. The ocean observatory is designed to collect data for only 5 years for NASA and ESA researchers. Though, the truck-sized ‘house’-shaped satellite could remain orbiting our planet for around 25 years. After the 5 year period is over, the agencies plan to launch the twin satellite, Sentinel-6B, which will operate similarly.
This project is important not only for the United States and Europe, Sentinel-6 will provide climate change data that will benefit all of humanity as a whole. The satellites beam accurate information about Earth's oceans which help meteorologists and scientists forecast weather events, like hurricanes and rising sea levels. The new Sentinel-6B satellite is equipped with advanced technology; It “will use a radar altimeter to bounce signals off the ocean surface and deliver continuity of ocean topography measurements. The mission also will collect high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature, using the Global Navigation Satellite System Radio-Occultation sounding technique, to assess temperature changes in Earth’s atmosphere and improve weather prediction models,” says the agency.
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All Featured Images Source: NASA
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.