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Airbus Tests Sentinel-6A’s Operational Fitness

Airbus space engineers testing the Copernicus Sentinel-6A satellite. Photo: Airbus

Airbus space engineers are currently testing the Copernicus Sentinel-6A satellite at the Space Test Center of Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) in Ottobrunn — near Munich, Germany — to prove its readiness for space. During the test campaign, which will last until spring 2020, the Airbus team will check that the satellite is able to survive the severe conditions of launch and the space environment.

“Copernicus Sentinel-6” is an operational ocean altimetry mission to provide continuity of ocean topography measurements over the next decade. Sentinel-6 carries a radar altimeter to provide timely observations of sea surface height on a global scale. This information is essential for the continued monitoring of changes in sea levels, a key indicator of climate change. It is also essential for operational oceanography. Mapping up to 95 percent of Earth’s ice free ocean every 10 days Sentinel-6 offers information on ocean currents, wind speed, and wave height for maritime safety.

Two Sentinel-6 satellites for the European Copernicus Program for environment and security have been developed under Airbus. While it is one of the European Union’s (EU’s) family of Copernicus satellite missions, Sentinel-6 is also being realized thanks to international cooperation between ESA, NASA, NOAA, and Eumetsat.

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