Passing of an Earth science champion

Dr Michael Freilich, the former Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, passed away on 5 August.

Thursday, 06 August 2020

During his 12-year tenure, until 2019, Michael Freilich led an outstanding NASA Earth science programme, including demonstration of highly innovative technology, proof of concept, venture class and observatory missions, and, last but certainly not least, a vibrant multi-disciplinary research programme that he considered the main driver.

Michael Freilich always championed international cooperation and offered to those sharing his commitment to science a large number of opportunities, including the A-Train concept and its contributing missions, the Global Precipitation Mission, Jason, Surface Water and Ocean Topography, Grace and Grace follow-on missions.

The cooperation between NASA and EUMETSAT substantially developed under his leadership, with the collaborative Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 missions and also through the multilateral Committee for Earth Observation Satellites.

Recognising his unrivalled commitment to international cooperation and Earth system science with no borders, ESA, the European Commission, EUMETSAT and NASA renamed the Jason-CSA satellite 'Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich' on 28 January 2020, during a ceremony organised at NASA headquarters and attended by Michael Freilich.

EUMETSAT wishes to honour the memory of Dr Michael Freilich, and express its sincere condolences to his family.

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