SpaceX successfully launched the NASA and ESA satellite known as Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich. Launch occurred without a hitch Saturday putting the satellite into the orbit it needed to peer down at the earth and observe our oceans. The satellite will be able to measure sea levels across 90 percent of the oceans around the world within a few centimeters.
In 2025 a twin companion satellite called Sentinel-6B will launch to help gather more data. As we previously mentioned, there are additional instruments on the satellites will also help improve weather forecasting by collecting data on atmospheric temperature and humidity.
The launch happened at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the base sent out a warning after the launch for people in the area. Officials at the Air Force Base warned that people could hear multiple sonic booms in parts of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties when the Falcon 9 first stage returned for landing.
SpaceX did offer a video of the Falcon 9 first stage returning for landing at Landing Zone 4. It’s always interesting to see a Falcon 9 first stage booster soaring out of space with its grid-like control surfaces moving rapidly to a perfect landing. Elon Musk and the crew at SpaceX have a busy weekend with another satellite launch scheduled to happen today.
After the Falcon 9 first stage separated, the second stage rocket fired to push Sentinel-6 into a parking orbit. About an hour after it was put into orbit, it began to deploy its solar panels and was expected to contact controllers about 25 minutes after panel deployment. The building of the satellite was a joint US and European operation.