Air & Cosmos - International logo

Advertising Advertising
Sentinel-6A ocean topography satellite takes shape
Sentinel-6A. © Airbus2018-M.Pikelj

Sentinel-6A ocean topography satellite takes shape

The integration of Sentinel-6A has reached a new milestone following the mating of the propulsion module with the main structure of the satellite at Airbus.

The integration of Sentinel-6A — the first of a pair of satellites to carry out high-precision measurements of ocean topography from 2020 onwards — has reached a new milestone following the mating of the propulsion module with the main structure of the satellite at Airbus' Frierichshafen facility in Germany.

Two Sentinel-6 satellites (6A and 6B) for the European Copernicus programme for environment and security, headed by the European Commission and ESA, are currently being developed under Airbus’ industrial leadership, under a €177m contract awarded in May 2015.

The mission is an international partnership between Europe and the U.S. It builds on heritage from the Jason series of ocean topography satellites — hence its alternative designation as Jason Continuity of Service (Jason CS) — and from ESA’s CryoSat mission.

Thales Alenia Space France is supplying the main instrument, a radar altimeter, whose predecessor is already being used on CryoSat-2, Jason-3 and Sentinel-3. Further instruments are being developed by NASA/JPL. The American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also a partner of Sentinel-6/Jason-CS.

Operations for the missions will be overseen and managed by Eumetsat in Darmstadt, Germany.

The satellite will measure its distance to the ocean surface with an accuracy of a few centimetres 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 analyse variations in sea levels and observe ocean currents.

By continuing your visit to this site, you agree to our use of cookies to deliver content and services tailored to your interests.