VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A U.S.-European satellite tv for pc designed to increase a decades-long measurement of worldwide sea floor heights was launched into Earth orbit from California on Saturday.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite tv for pc blasted off from Vandenberg Air Pressure Base at 9:17 a.m. and arced southward over the Pacific Ocean. The Falcon’s first stage flew again to the launch website and landed for reuse.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite tv for pc was launched from the second stage about an hour later. It then deployed its photo voltaic panels and made first contact with controllers.
Named for a former NASA official who had a key position in creating space-based oceanography, the satellite tv for pc’s important instrument is an especially correct radar altimeter that may bounce vitality off the ocean floor because it sweeps over Earth’s oceans. An an identical twin, Sentinel-6B, might be launched in 2025 to make sure continuity of the document.
Area-based sea stage measurements have been uninterrupted for the reason that 1992 launch of the U.S.-French satellite tv for pc TOPEX-Poseidon, which was adopted by a sequence of satellites together with the present Jason-3.
Sea floor heights are affected by heating and cooling of water, permitting scientist to make use of the altimeter information to detect such weather-influencing circumstances as the nice and cozy El Nino and the cool La Nina.
The measurements are additionally necessary for understanding total sea stage rise on account of world warming that scientists warn is a danger to the world’s coastlines and billions of individuals.
“Our Earth is a system of intricately linked dynamics between land, ocean, ice, environment and in addition after all our human communities, and that system is altering,” Karen St. Germain, NASA’s Earth Science Division director, stated in a pre-launch briefing Friday.
“As a result of 70 p.c of the Earth’s floor is ocean, the oceans play an infinite position in how the entire system modifications,” she stated.
The brand new satellite tv for pc is predicted to have unprecedented accuracy.
“That is an especially necessary parameter for local weather monitoring,” Josef Aschbacher, the European Area Company’s director of Earth statement, advised The Related Press this week.
“We all know that sea stage is rising,” Aschbacher stated. The large query is, by how a lot, how shortly.
Different devices on board will measure how radio indicators move by way of the environment, offering information on atmospheric temperature and humidity that may assist enhance world climate forecasts.
Europe and america are sharing the $1.1 billion (900 million euro) value of the mission, which incorporates the dual satellite tv for pc.