Watch as SpaceX Launches Sentinel-6, commonly referred to as the SpaceX falcon 9, set on the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission also known as the Sentinel-6A mission or the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission which is soon to work, where it will be performing all sorts of climate monitoring, such as measuring sea surface topography with high accuracy, and the reliability to support ocean forecasting systems, as well as environmental monitoring and of course general climate monitoring.
Due to climate change the mean sea level is rising, as ice is melting in the polar regions. The Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission has been set to extend sea surface height measurements for at least 10 more years (till 2030).
SpaceX Launches Sentinel-6 Satellite
The SpaceX Falcon 9 is the first satellite assigned to the Sentinel-6 mission, but will not be the last as they have made plans to launch a new satellite to carry out Sentinel-6B, which has the same objective as Sentinel-6A, but will include a different, most likely more advanced, satellite.
The satellite they are going to use for the Sentinel-6B mission will be taking the SpaceX Falcon 9’s place some time around 2030 which is the earliest time SpaceX wishes to ‘retire’ the new sentinel-6 satellite, so that they can get optimal use out of the newly launched satellite.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 was launched on November 21st 2020, at 8 seconds past 9:17 AM, in Vandenberg, California, United States. it lifted off with Poseidon-4 radar altimeter and a microwave radiometer.
The Poseidon-4 radar altimeter was recently developed and created for real-time high precision seas surface topography, ocean circulation and wave height data. It collects all this data sound, more specifically radar, by bouncing radar pulses off the seas surface and then measuring the time it takes for the signal to return to the satellite.
The microwave radiometer was created to correct any errors the poseidon-4 radar altimeter might develop. These errors may occur because of time delay, caused by water vapor in the path of the radar pulses. Although not one hundred percent accurate, this combination of instruments creates a high accuracy rate, as the data is usually 2-4cm off the correct data, which is very little.
The in-flight calibration of the microwave radiometer is based upon intercomparison studies between the microwave radiometer’s data acquired during the first six months of operation as well as various other sources from different satellites that passed by the selected ground sites.
Other tools they are using on board the SpaceX Falcon 9 include the Doppler orbitography and radiopositioning integrated by satellite (DORIS Receiver), a laser reflector array (LRA) and the GNSS-RO Radio Occultation.