• Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

SpaceX launches satellites for NASA and Europe nails rocket landing


Nov 30, 2020

SpaceX recently launches ocean-mapping satellites with advanced technology for NASA and Europe. The 70-meter rocket Falcon 9 took off from Space Launch Complex 4E from the Vandenberg Air Forces, California. Its payload by the US and European Space agencies is the Oceanography Satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich.

This launch marks the 22nd Falcon 9 rocket launch by SpaceX. After liftoff, nine minutes later, the primary rocket stage returned with a successful landing. Many people familiar with NASA activities realize that the satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is a familiar name. Why not when it is named after one of the most admired space legends, Michael Freilich, the former NASA’s Earth science division. He succumbed to cancer in August.

Unlike other occasions, the satellite was named after Michael by NASA and ESA in January, even before his death. This honor is rare in the space section, especially when dealing with a living scientist. His family watched this heroic launch in person, daughter Sarah, son Daniel, and his baby granddaughter, Rosie, to remember their father’s work. According to Daniel, seeing the launch was special since his dad often talked about the moment. On the other hand, Sarah explained the moment as gorgeous and the most amazing thing to watch. 

The satellite is built in Germany by Airbus. And according to the experts, it roughly sizes up the size of a pickup truck.  Also, it carries various instruments to monitor changes in sea level, even in a few centimeters. To easily achieve sea-level measurements, the satellite will beam electromagnetic signals to oceans globally and later measure the time it takes for the electromagnetic signals to bounce back.

Mission scientists are confident that rising sea levels are mere consequences of climate change. Also, data from previous satellites observation confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is rising. It is clear why scientists want to monitor the sea levels for a while no to notice any differences and how fast the sea levels are rising.

The Michael Freilich satellite is the first satellite in what is expected to be a pair of ocean-focused satellites. It is a $97 million ocean-focused satellite. Scientists and experts expect a Sentinel 6B launch to happen in 2025. The pair will form the strongest set in the NASA three-decade effort to record rising sea levels. In addition to that, the view is expected to surpass their previous ocean-focused satellites.

This 1192Kg satellite works similarly with other popular Earth Science missions such as the Jason-3 satellite. It is also clear that the satellite will offer the most accurate sea level details. The satellite gives NASA a chance to observe any changes in the sea level measurements.