PIA24104: Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Transported for Payload Processing
 Mission:  Sentinel-6/Jason-CS 
 Spacecraft:  Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich
 Product Size:  1736 x 1099 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  NASA
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA24104.tif (4.04 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA24104.jpg (181.6 kB)

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A shipping container containing the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is transported on a truck to the SpaceX payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base after arriving in California on Sept. 24, 2020. An Antonov aircraft carrying the spacecraft arrived at around 10:40 a.m. PDT (1:40 p.m. EDT) after a two-day journey from an IABG engineering facility near Munich, Germany.

The ocean-monitoring satellite will undergo prelaunch tests before its scheduled launch on Nov. 10, 2020. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will begin a five-and-a-half-year mission to collect sea surface height measurements down to the centimeter for 90% of the world's oceans.

The satellite is named after Dr. Michael Freilich, the former director of NASA's Earth Science Division and an instrumental figure in advancing ocean observations from space. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is one of two identical spacecraft that compose the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) mission developed in partnership with ESA (the European Space Agency). ESA is developing the new Sentinel family of missions to support the operational needs of the European Union's Copernicus program, the EU's Earth observation program managed by the European Commission. The spacecraft's twin, Sentinel-6B, will launch in 2025.

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS is being jointly developed by ESA, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with funding support from the European Commission and technical support from France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, is contributing three science instruments for each Sentinel-6 satellite: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer, the Global Navigation Satellite System - Radio Occultation, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA is also contributing launch services, ground systems supporting operation of the NASA science instruments, the science data processors for two of these instruments, and support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.

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