Testing is underway on the spacecraft that will provide highly accurate measurements of the amount and rate of global sea level rise until the 2030s through a joint European-US mission.
EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier, together with representatives from the European Commission, ESA and NASA today visited the Industrieanlagen Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) clean room in Ottobrun to inspect the first of two satellites supporting the collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission.
IABG will perform an extensive series of tests on the spacecraft and its instruments over six months, to ensure it will survive the launch and orbit environment.
The spacecraft will take over from Jason-3 as the high precision altimetry mission as of 2020, and continue a mission started with Topex/Poseidon in 1992 and continued with Jason-2.
Ratier said the collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission represents the next phase of a more than 30-year-long cooperative effort between Europe and the US and would increase understanding of the role of the Earth’s oceans in climate change.
"From its specific orbit, the collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission will deliver measurements of ocean surface topography and mean sea level of the highest precision," Ratier said.
"Their unique quality will drive up the performances of Copernicus ocean monitoring and forecast services and predictions of heat waves and other weather phenomena influenced by the ocean.
"The measurements will cross-calibrate less accurate satellite altimetry missions to produce a multi-orbit data set directly usable by ocean prediction models that sample the variability of the ocean at different scales, from El Nino to mid-latitude eddies.
"Last but not least, the mission will continue to map the evolutions of mean sea level in our changing climate, providing essential information for adaptation policies in coastal areas and small island states. This is an important contribution to the Paris Agreement."
The partners involved in the collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission are the European Commission, EUMETSAT, the European Space Agency, NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with the support of the French Space Agency (CNES).
EUMETSAT will operate the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 spacecraft, and process and disseminate their mission data, from its headquarters in Darmstadt.