Systems and teams get ready for the launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich

Today, after a comprehensive review, EUMETSAT and the other European and US partners of the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 programme confirmed readiness of all systems and teams for the launch and operations of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite.

Friday, 11 September 2020

The collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 ocean-monitoring mission will provide ocean surface topography and mean sea level measurements of unprecedented accuracy, for operational oceanography and climate monitoring.

The mission is implemented and co-funded by Europe, through the European Commission, ESA and EUMETSAT, and by the US, through NASA and NOAA, as a further development of the longstanding transatlantic cooperation on Jason high-precision altimetry missions.

The Launch and Operations Readiness Review (LORR) was the last critical milestone in the development of the full system before the planned launch of the satellite from Vandenberg, California, on 10 November. The successful LORR concludes a cycle of reviews confirming the readiness of the satellite and the ground systems of each partner, and paves the way for the start of launch campaign at the end of September.

Cristian Bank, EUMETSAT Director of Programme Preparation and Development and chairman of the review steering committee, said: “All partners have worked together to achieve this critical milestone despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Manfred Lugert, EUMETSAT Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 Programme Manager, said: “All EUMETSAT systems and teams are now ready for the launch and for operating this crucial Copernicus ocean and climate monitoring mission.”

After the launch from Vandenberg, the ESA Space Operations Centre (ESOC) will take control of the satellite for activating and checking all its basic functions over a three-day period. Then, EUMETSAT will take over flight operations and support satellite and system commissioning together with ESA, NASA, NOAA, CNES and expert users.

Alain Ratier, EUMETSAT Director-General, said: “After contributing to the cooperative Jason-2 and Jason-3 missions, EUMETSAT is proud of taking a more important role in the development and operations of the Sentinel-6 mission, as part of the EU flagship Copernicus programme.”

Timo Pesonen, Director-General for Defence Industry and Space of the European Commission, said: “The EU’s Earth-observation programme, Copernicus, is instrumental to the implementation of many EU policies. We have a new illustration today, with the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission – a result of a fruitful transatlantic cooperation.

“This new satellite will be a game changer within the Copernicus constellation, notably providing a new layer of information to reinforce maritime safety, to support inland global water management, and to better understand global warming and thus mitigate its impacts,” Pesonen added.


The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat -9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-8 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT operates three Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative sea level monitoring Jason missions (Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6) involving Europe and the United States.

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT carries out these tasks in cooperation with ESA and already exploits the Sentinel-3 marine mission.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth Observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

Media Relations EUMETSAT:

Tel: +49 6151 807 7320

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