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Airbus Completes Ocean Imagery Satellite

By | September 3, 2019
Airbus completed the ocean satellite Copernicus Sentinel-6A. Photo: Airbus / Lorenz Engelhardt

Airbus completed the ocean satellite Copernicus Sentinel-6A. Photo: Airbus / Lorenz Engelhardt

Airbus completed the ocean satellite Copernicus Sentinel-6A, and is now sending it on its first journey. Its destination is Ottobrunn near Munich in Germany, where over the next six months the satellite will undergo an extensive series of tests at Industrieanlagen Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) to prove its readiness for space.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 aims to carry out high-precision measurements of ocean surface topography. The satellite will measure its distance to the ocean surface with an accuracy of a few centimeters and, over a mission lasting up to seven years, use this data to map it, repeating the cycle every 10 days. It will document changes in sea-surface height, record and analyze variations in sea levels and observe ocean currents. Exact observations of changes in sea-surface height provide insights into global sea levels, the speed and direction of ocean currents, and ocean heat storage. These measurements are vital for modeling the oceans and predicting rises in sea levels.

Two Sentinel-6 satellites for the European Copernicus Program for environment and security are currently being developed under Airbus’s leadership. While it is one of the European Union’s family of Copernicus satellite missions, Sentinel-6 is also being realized thanks to an international cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, NOAA. and Eutelsat.