Media accreditation is open for the launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, an international collaboration between NASA and several partners. This is the first of two identical satellites to be launched sequentially to continue observations of sea level change for at least the next decade. The spacecraft is targeted for liftoff Nov. 10 at 2:31 p.m. EST (11:31 a.m. PST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.
Sentinel-6 will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 at VAFB. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NASA will credential a limited number of media to cover the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich launch from VAFB. Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions at VAFB and quarantine requirements, international media who would be traveling from overseas will not be able to register for this launch. International media based in the U.S. may apply.
Media interested in attending this launch must apply by 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 27. Media accreditation requests should be submitted online at:
NASA is proactively monitoring the coronavirus situation as it evolves. The agency will continue to follow guidance from local officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer and communicate any updates that may impact mission planning or media access, as they become available.
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is named in honor of the former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, who was instrumental in advancing ocean altimetry. It follows the most recent U.S.-European sea level observation satellite, Jason-3, which launched in 2016 and currently is providing high-precision and timely observations of the topography of the global ocean.
Sentinel-6 is part of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation program managed by the European Commission. Continuing the legacy of Jason series missions, Sentinel-6 will extend the records of sea level into its fourth decade, collecting accurate measurements of sea surface height down to the centimeter for 90% of the world’s oceans, and providing crucial information for operational oceanography and climate studies. The satellite’s twin, Sentinel-6B, is scheduled to launch in 2025.
The Copernicus Sentinel-6 missions are being jointly developed by ESA (European Space Agency), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with funding support from the European Commission (EC) and support from France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
NASA’s contributions to the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS missions are three science instruments for each of the two Sentinel-6 satellites: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer, the GNSS-RO, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA is also contributing launch services, ground systems supporting operation of the NASA science instruments, the science data processors for two of these instruments, and support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team. NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages NASA’s contribution to the mission.