Sentinel-6 A Spot

Ready to launch this weekend: Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich


The satellite is scheduled for launch on 21 November 2020.

Sentinel-6 A Spot
Sentinel-6 A Spot

We’re heading into a busy week here at EUMETSAT as we prepare for Saturday. The Sentinel-6 mission is the result of a fruitful collaboration between NASA (USA), the European Space Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA), CNES (French space agency), and, of course, EUMETSAT.

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Published on

18 November 2020

It is the first of a pair of identical spacecraft—the launch of the second is planned for 2025—designed for the Copernicus Programme and tasked with monitoring fluctuations in sea level in our changing climate. If all goes according to plan, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will ride a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket into space this Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Sentinel-6 will continue a long-running US-European partnership on altimetry missions that dates back to 1992 and the launch of the Topex Poseidon satellite and later, the Jason series of satellites.

sentinel 6 image - CA

The investment in these missions has enabled the collection of highly accurate measurements of global mean sea level for nearly three decades. The data that Sentinel-6 collects will be crucial for operational oceanography and serve as a calibration reference for other altimetry missions.

Sentinel-6’s data will also be very important for the forecasting of high-impact weather events, a tool more valuable than ever in this changing climate. EUMETSAT will operate the satellite and provide the data, along with data from Sentinel-3 and our own missions, to users in the EU, in our Member States and globally.

This thing really is packed full of scientific instruments—if all that’s not enough, thanks to NASA’s GNSS radio occultation measurement method, the satellite will also provide detailed information about the structure and composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

What’s there to do now? On our side, we’ll keep reporting news from the launch through Saturday on our social media channels (TwitterFacebook, and Instagram), and if you want to watch the launch live, please check the Sentinel-6 microsite where the live feed will be shown.

If you’re still hungry for information, we also have a playlist about Sentinel-6 on our YouTube channel, as well as an episode of our podcast that goes in-depth about the mission and its goals (listen here).