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Images: Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich encapsulated for launch

Images: Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich encapsulated for launch
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite — named for the former head of NASA’s Earth science division who died of cancer earlier this year — is affixed to the top of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket awaiting liftoff from the Central Coast of California at 12:17:08 p.m. EST (9:17:08 a.m. PST; 1717:08 GMT) Saturday. The…

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite– called for the former head of NASA’s Earth science department who passed away of cancer earlier this year– is affixed to the top of the 229- foot-tall (70- meter) Falcon 9 rocket awaiting liftoff from the Central Coast of California at 12: 17: 08 p.m. EST (9: 17: 08 a.m. PST; 1717: 08 GMT) Saturday.

The satellite was developed by Jet in Germany and is the size of a small pickup truck. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich carries a radar altimeter, a microwave radiometer, and instruments to specifically locate the satellite in orbit. Working together, the instruments will track changes in sea level to a couple of centimeters.

Increasing water level are one effect of environment change, and predecessor satellites reveal the rate of sea level rise is speeding up, according to objective researchers.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is the next in a series of oceanography objectives tracking sea level rise, beginning with the U.S.-French Topex/Poseidon mission that introduced in1992 The Jason 1, Jason 2, and Jason 3 satellites followed Topex/Poseidon, and a similar satellite to Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich called Sentinel-6B is prepared for launch in 2025 to even more extend the data record of sea level rise.

The mission was established in a collaboration in between NASA, the European Area Agency, Eumetsat, and NOAA, along with support from the European Commission and the French space agency CNES.

Working under a $97 million contract with NASA, SpaceX is poised to introduce the 2,628- pound (1,192- kg) Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base into a 830- mile-high (1,336- kilometer) orbit.

The Falcon 9 rocket– flying with a brand new very first stage– will head south-southeast from Vandenberg to place the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite into an orbit tilted 66 degrees to the equator.

After 2 burns of the rocket’s second phase, the Falcon 9 is set to release the spacecraft around 53 minutes into the objective.

SpaceX strategies to propulsively land the Falcon 9’s first phase booster back at Vandenberg on Landing Zone 4, simply west of the rocket’s launch pad on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

These pictures reveal the encapsulation of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite inside the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload shroud at Vandenberg.

Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

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