SpaceX has sent to space a satellite designed to monitor sea levels across the globe under a U.S.-U.K. partnership.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base Saturday on a mission to collect sea level data, support ship navigation and inform weather forecasts, NASA said Sunday.
“The changing Earth processes are affecting sea level globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely,” said Karen St. Germain, who leads NASA's Earth Science Division.
She added that the spacecraft will help NASA further understand Earth's planetary changes with regard to sea level and the corresponding impact on coastal communities.
"These data, which can only be obtained by measurements from space, will bring a wide range of benefits to people around the globe, from safer ocean travel to more precise prediction of hurricane paths, from greater understanding of sea level rise to more accurate seasonal weather forecasts, and so much more," noted Alain Ratier, director-general of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.
Before the satellite commences the science data collection effort, it will undergo checks and calibrations.
The satellite honors Michael Freilich, former director of NASA's Earth Science Division. He led space-based ocean observation efforts during his time with the agency.
"Climate change and sea level rise know no national borders, and he championed international collaboration to confront the challenge," Josef Aschbacher, director of observation programs at the European Space Agency, said about Freilich.