Airbus Finishes Sentinel-6A Ocean Satellite Construction

Jeff Brody

Airbus has built the first of two planned ocean satellites for an international mission aimed at monitoring changes in sea level to support coastal protection efforts.

Copernicus Sentinel-6, which weighs 1.5 tons, is scheduled to undergo a series of assessments for six months at an Ottobrunn, Germany, facility run by analysis and test engineering company IABG, Airbus said Tuesday.

The satellite will begin its seven-year mission after its intended launch in November 2020. SpaceX received a $97M contract in October 2017 from NASA to send Sentinel-6A into space with the Falcon 9 rocket.

In addition to measuring sea level, Sentinel-6A will also measure ocean currents and temperature to provide information to government officials who make civil engineering decisions for communities as well as to emergency response personnel.

Airbus serves as the prime contractor for the space segment of Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation program, and completed the first satellite under a $197M contract in 2015 dollars.

Sentinel-6B is projected to lift off sometime in 2025.

The European Space Agency is working with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the ocean surface topography measurement initiative.

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