SpaceX launches NASA-European satellite to monitor sea level rise

The first of two satellites in a billion-dollar NASA-European project to accurately measure sea level rise, a major consequence of global warming, flew into orbit from California on Saturday at the summit of ‘a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

By timing how long it takes for radar beams entering clouds to bounce off the ocean 830 miles below, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite can track sea level with an accuracy of less than half -thumb to help scientists map the effects of warming over long periods of time.

Named after the late director of NASA’s Earth Sciences Division, “this is the satellite so beautiful that we built it twice,” said Josh Willis, project scientist, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. from NASA. “In five years we will be launching its successor, Sentinel-6B.”

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A Falcon 9 rocket pulls away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, orbiting the first of two satellites to monitor sea level rise.

NASA

“This is a huge deal for us climatologists because it means we can watch the oceans for 10 years in an unbroken record,” he said. “And this is the first time we’ve been able to build two in a row so we can throw them back to back and stretch the record much further than we’ve been able to do so far.”

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