Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich is ready for launch!

Less than one month left before the world’s latest Earth Observation satellite, Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich, goes into orbit. On 10th November 2020, Sentinel-6 will launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, on board a Space X Falcon 9 rocket, to start its 5 and half year mission.

Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich is part of the Copernicus Programme and it has been developed thanks to the cooperation among ESA, the European Commission, EUMETSAT, NASA and NOAA, with the support of the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

SURPRISE is proud to have two members of its User Community Panel (ESA and EUMETSAT) participating in this ambitious mission!

What will Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich do?

By using a radar altimeter, Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich will map the topography of sea surface and collect the most accurate data on global sea level and on how the oceans are rising in response to climate change. It will observe annual changes in mean sea level with millimetre precision, measure surface wind speed, sea state and geostrophic ocean currents and gather atmospheric data to support weather forecasting, climate modelling and understand climate change on a long-term perspective.

Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich data will not be essential for climate science only. They will also be crucial to support policy-making and to protect people living in vulnerable coastal areas.

Want to know more about how Sentinel-6/Michael Freilich will work in practice? Take a look here!

Who was Michael Freilich?

Sentinel 6 is named after the former Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, Dr. Michael Freilich, who oversaw 16 major mission and instrument launches and 8 small-satellite launches during his 12 years heading the Division.

Dr. Freilich, who recently passed away in August 2020, was known for his tireless promotion of rigorous research and his dedication to training the next generation of Earth scientists.


Photo credits ESA Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich arrives at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, copyright 30th Space Wing