The Falcon 9’s payload will be a satellite that is going to provide the critical data about sea-level rise and climate change for the next decade. This satellite is the latest in this series and is named Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite. It is named after the former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division Michael Freilich, who is considered as a pioneer in conducting the oceanography work from orbit.
This new ocean-spying bird will be able to measure sea levels within a few centimeters for 90% of oceans around the globe. A twin satellite named Sentinel-6B will join the effort after its launch in 2025. According to NASA, the Instruments on these new satellites will also provide data on atmospheric temperature and humidity that will help in improved weather forecasts.
The mission will start with the fairly rare launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A statement from Vandenberg warns that the multiple sonic booms may be heard in some parts of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties when the SpaceX Falcon 9’s first stage returns for a landing after lifting the satellite towards orbit. And should occur roughly after eight minutes of liftoff.
Liftoff is currently set for Saturday at 10:47 pm IST, and people around the globe can watch via the live feed embedded at the end of this blog.
Saturday could prove to be a very busy day for SpaceX, as they also plan to launch their latest batch of Starlink satellites from Florida just after 10 hours of this launch.