The US Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) have successfully launched a satellite to monitor sea level rise around the world.
The joint US-European satellite built to monitor global sea level took off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The size of a small van, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will extend an almost 30-year continuous data set on sea level collected by an ongoing collaboration of US and European satellites, while improving weather forecasting and providing detailed information on ocean current scales to support ship navigation near shore.
“The Earth is changing, and this satellite will help us deepen our understanding of how,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Sciences Division.
“Earth’s changing processes affect sea level globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely. International collaboration is essential both to understand these changes and to inform coastal communities around the world.
The spacecraft is named after Michael Freilich, former director of NASA’s Division of Earth Sciences, who was a leading figure in advancing ocean observations from space.
“Freilich was a tireless force in the earth sciences. Climate change and sea level rise know no national borders, and he championed international collaboration to raise the bar. challenge, “said Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programs at ESA (European Space Agency).
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will continue the sea level record that began in 1992 with the TOPEX / Poseidon satellite and continued with Jason-1 (2001), OSTM / Jason-2 (2008), and finally, Jason -3, which has been observing the oceans since 2016.
The satellite will be tracked in 2025 by its twin, Sentinel-6B.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Whether it’s 800 miles above Earth with this remarkable spacecraft or we’re heading to Mars to look for signs of life, whether it’s by providing to farmers with agricultural data or by helping first responders with our disaster program, we are tirelessly committed to not only learning and exploring, but making an impact where it’s needed ”.
“The data from this satellite, which are so essential for climate monitoring and weather forecasting, will be of unprecedented precision,” said EUMETSAT Director General Alain Ratier.
Global sea level is rising by about 0.13 inches (3.3 millimeters) per year. This is 30% more than when NASA launched its first satellite mission to measure the height of the oceans in 1992.