The joint U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is the next in a line of Earth-observing satellites that will collect the most accurate data yet on sea level and how it changes over time. It is the product of a partnership between NASA and ESA, who have joined forces for the first time on an Earth mission. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will join a long-standing family of Earth observing satellites from NASA and European partners including EUMETSAT and the French space agency CNES.

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is part of the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission, a collaboration among NASA, ESA, EUMETSAT, and NOAA. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base no earlier than Nov. 21, 2020.

For more information on the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission, go to

Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech/NOAA


The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is the culmination of decades of international research and development of satellite altimetry designed to measure sea surface height.

In the early '90s, NASA and the French Space Agency launched Topex/Posiedon, the first in a series of next-generation altimetry missions that includes the Jason satellites.

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency created their own successful Earth observation program called Copernicus, which includes the Sentinel series.

In an effort to maximize the technology and resources on both sides of the pond, NASA, NOAA, ESA, EUMETSAT, the European Commision all joined forces to create this satellite, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich.

The name itself is emblematic of a mission greater than the sum of all it's parts. The first part of the name, "Sentinel-6", is derived from ESA's series of Sentinel satellites. And the "Michael Freilich'' part of the name honors Dr. Michael Freilich, the former director of NASA's Earth Science Division and a tireless advocate for advancing measurements of the ocean in an effort to better understand the planet we all live on.

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