Sentinel-6's mission

European and American satellite gears up for a launch this week

This weekend a new European and American satellite is gearing up for launch with a SpaceX rocket. Additionally, Sentinel-6’s mission will be to estimate sea level, manipulating laser beams to calculate ocean level in function of ice melting.

“It may be risky to imagine, but from a height of 1, 300 kilometers we can measure (with some algorithms and calculations) the change in sea level with millimeter accuracy. Verily, it’s the power of our satellite.” the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation director Josef Asbacher explains to Euronews.

In addition to that, ESA expects that the launch of Sentinel-6 will go better than that of Vega that a few days ago ceased to function eight minutes after takeoff. Besides, it abolished the two satellites it carried.

Further, Sentinel-6 will become the eighth satellite in the Sentinel series to be part of the European Copernicus program for Earth observation. Satellites already in orbit measure everything from air pollution to flooding.

At the moment, ESA has contracts for six more Sentinel satellites, to measure additional parameters from space, such as soil drought or urbanization. According to Ansbacher, “with these six new missions, we enter Copernicus 2, the next phase of Copernicus. These are different types of missions with very different sensors.”

Moreover, he added that “Devices that measure air pollution, instruments to measure carbon dioxide with unprecedented accuracy, we measure the ice cover of Poles, parameters of climate, food safety, both in Europe and worldwide.”

The launch of the first of six satellites is planned for 2025. It is about the one who will measure carbon dioxide and distinguish the difference between natural and man-made emissions.