Today, after a comprehensive review, EUMETSAT and the other European and US partners of the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 programme confirmed readiness of all systems and teams for the launch and operations of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite.
The collaborative Copernicus Sentinel-6 ocean-monitoring mission will provide ocean surface topography and mean sea level measurements of unprecedented accuracy, for operational oceanography and climate monitoring.
The mission is implemented and co-funded by Europe, through the European Commission, ESA and EUMETSAT, and by the US, through NASA and NOAA, as a further development of the longstanding transatlantic cooperation on Jason high-precision altimetry missions.
The Launch and Operations Readiness Review (LORR) was the last critical milestone in the development of the full system before the planned launch of the satellite from Vandenberg, California, on 10 November. The successful LORR concludes a cycle of reviews confirming the readiness of the satellite and the ground systems of each partner, and paves the way for the start of launch campaign at the end of September.
Cristian Bank, EUMETSAT Director of Programme Preparation and Development and chairman of the review steering committee, said: "All partners have worked together to achieve this critical milestone despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic."
Manfred Lugert, EUMETSAT Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 Programme Manager, said: "All EUMETSAT systems and teams are now ready for the launch and for operating this crucial Copernicus ocean and climate monitoring mission."
After the launch from Vandenberg, the ESA Space Operations Centre (ESOC) will take control of the satellite for activating and checking all its basic functions over a three-day period. Then, EUMETSAT will take over flight operations and support satellite and system commissioning together with ESA, NASA, NOAA, CNES and expert users.
Alain Ratier, EUMETSAT Director-General, said: "After contributing to the cooperative Jason-2 and Jason-3 missions, EUMETSAT is proud of taking a more important role in the development and operations of the Sentinel-6 mission, as part of the EU flagship Copernicus programme."
Timo Pesonen, Director-General for Defence Industry and Space of the European Commission, said: "The EU’s Earth-observation programme, Copernicus, is instrumental to the implementation of many EU policies. We have a new illustration today, with the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission - a result of a fruitful transatlantic cooperation.
"This new satellite will be a game changer within the Copernicus constellation, notably providing a new layer of information to reinforce maritime safety, to support inland global water management, and to better understand global warming and thus mitigate its impacts," Pesonen added.