SpaceX launches NASA-European satellite to monitor rising sea levels

The first of two satellites in a billion-dollar NASA-European project to recover sea levels is a major consequence of global warming, hitting a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in orbit Saturday from California.

How long does it take cloud-penetrating radar beams to bounce back from the sea at 830 miles below sea level, a Sentry-6 Michael Freelich satellite to help scientists chart global impacts on sea level Can track with an accuracy of less than half an inch. Warming over extended periods.

“This satellite is so good that we made it twice,” said project scientist Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, named after the late director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “” Five years from now, we will launch its successor, the Sentinel-6B. “

A Falcon 9 rocket climbs away from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, raising the first of two satellites to monitor rising sea levels.


“This is a big thing for us climate scientists, because it means that we have to see the oceans for a full 10 years in an unbroken record.” “And this is the first time we’ve been able to build two in a row so that we can launch them back to back and push the record to the very front.

The satellite’s Falcon 9 rocket roared to life at 12:17 pm ET and swung 66 degrees southward toward the equator, moving away from launch complex 4-east at Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Los Angeles. Gone.

It was the California Rocket Builder’s 22nd Falcon 9 flight so far this year and its 103rd overall included three triple-core Falcon heavy boosters. This was Vandenbar’s first Falcon 9 launch since June 2019.

After powering through the dense lower atmosphere, the first stage fell away, flipped around and landed itself back to landing near the launch pad, the fourth in California to achieve SpaceX’s 66th successful stage recovery is.

Meanwhile, Phase II erected a two-engine fence to put the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich satellite into its required orbit.

A camera from the second stage of Falcon 9 sees a spectacular view of the rocket’s first stage as it falls down to the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.


The Sentinel-6 satellite will continue a national-scale effort by NASA for the European Space Agency, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor sea levels over the past 30 years.

With the projection of Sentinel-6 Michael Frillich and Sentinel-6b, those measurements would be extended in the 2030s. And the data collected so far is worrying for climate researchers.

“You can see that the rate of increase is actually increasing,” Willis said. “So in the 90s, sea level was rising about two millimeters per year. In the 2000s, it was as high as three millimeters per year and now it is closer to four or five millimeters per year.”

The first phase performs a pinpoint landing, which is SpaceX’s 66th successful booster recovery pursuit, 21st on land and third at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.


More than 90% of the heat trapped by the greenhouse goes to heat the world’s oceans.

“So the seas are warmer, the water expands, which is about a third of the sea level. The rest is from melting glaciers and ice sheets,” Willis said. “So this mission really gives us the most important yardstick to measure climate change and how it is playing on the planet.”

By measuring sea levels around the planet, the new satellite will monitor temperature and humidity in the lower atmosphere, as well as the high-altitude stratosphere, which will use a device that can detect atmospheric effects on signals transmitted by navigation satellites. Measures

An artist’s impression of the Sentinel-6 Michael Frillich satellite in orbit.


But the primary mission is monitoring sea levels in 90 percent of the world’s oceans.

European Space Agency project scientist Craig Donlon said, “The dynamic equilibrium before the Industrial Revolution is troubled by the almost instantaneous combustion of vast reserves of carbon.”

“We see evidence of this dramatic change in many different measurements … but they all point in the same direction: the Earth is warming. And the biggest indicator of the imbalance of this Earth system is the rise in sea level.”


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