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Falcon 9 Launches European-U.S. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Environmental Satellite

21 Nov 2020, 19:53 UTC
Falcon 9 Launches European-U.S. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Environmental Satellite
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The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean observation satellite lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:17 a.m. PST (12:17 p.m. EST) Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Credits: NASA TV)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared off the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday carrying an European-U.S. environmental satellite designed to measure global sea levels.

The booster lifted off under clear skies from the Space lLaunch Complex 4E with the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite at 9:17 a.m. PST. The spacecraft, which is the size of a small pickup truck, successfully deployed in orbit and unfolded its solar arrays after separating from the Falcon 9’s second stage.

Falcon 9’s first stage made a successful landing back at Space Launch Complex 4E. The booster created a loud sonic boom that rang out across the sprawling U.S. Air Force Base.

Data returned by Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will be added to a nearly 30-year continuous dataset on sea levels collected by American and European satellites. The data will provide detailed information on large-scale weather currents that will assist with ...

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