NASA offers details on Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft

In November, NASA set to launch a new Earth-observing satellite designed to monitor sea levels and provide atmospheric data to support weather forecasting and climate models. The spacecraft is called Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich. NASA will launch the spacecraft on November 10 on a 5.5-year primary mission.

Its primary mission is to collect the most accurate data yet on global sea level and how the oceans are rising in response to climate change. Precision data on atmospheric temperature and humidity will be gathered to help improve weather forecasts and climate models. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is named after Dr. Michael Freilich, the former director of the NASA Earth Science Division.

NASA says its new spacecraft builds on the heritage of the ESA Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission, among others. NASA wants space fans to know five things about its Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft. The first is that the spacecraft is designed to help researchers understand how climate change is reshaping the coastlines of the Earth and how fast that reshaping is happening.

The satellite is designed to see things that previous sea level missions or unable to observe, including tracking large ocean features like the Gulf Stream. The spacecraft builds on a successful US-European partnership and is a joint NASA-ESA effort. The mission will help researchers better understand how the Earth's climate is changing by expanding the global atmospheric temperature data record.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is designed to improve weather forecasts by providing meteorologists information on atmospheric temperature and humidity. NASA's JPL developed three science instruments aboard the satellite, including the AMR-C, GNSS-RO, and Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA's also contributing launch services, ground systems supporting the operation of its instruments, the science data processors for the instruments, and support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.