Airbus has completed Sentinel-6B, the second ocean monitoring satellite of the European Copernicus programme, and will now be extensively tested in preparation for its use in space over the next six months.
The Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission is performing high-precision measurement of the topography of ocean surfaces via "Sentinel-2020A", the first of two satellites launched in November 6. The mission's two satellites were created to measure the distance to the sea surface with an accuracy of a few centimeters and map them to a 10-day rhythm over a mission span of up to seven years. Their purpose is to record changes in sea surface elevation and changes in sea levels, analyze and observe ocean currents. Accurate observation of sea surface elevation changes provides information about global sea levels, the speed and direction of ocean currents, and the heat accumulated in the oceans. Measurements from 1336 km above Earth are essential for modeling the ocean and predicting sea level rise.
This information helps governments and institutions provide effective protection for coastal areas. This data is also valuable for disaster management organisations, city planning, flood protection programs or embankment construction authorities.
As a result of global warming, global sea levels are currently rising by an average of 3,3 millimeters per year, with negative consequences for countries with densely populated coasts.
Part of the European Copernicus program, Sentinel-6 is also an international collaboration between ESA, NASA, NOAA and Eumetsat.