Solar Arrays Deployed, Signaled Acquired
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite has separated from the Falcon 9 second stage. The satellite’s S-Band transmitter will be switched on and its attitude control system will be activated.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite has separated from the Falcon 9 second stage and is flying on its own. The satellite’s S-Band transmitter will be switched on and its attitude control system will be activated.
Engineers working on the U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft are expecting it to separate from the top of the rocket in about an hour and to phone home about 35 minutes after that.
Fueling of SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Begins
Fueling of the SpaceX rocket has begun. The SpaceX Falcon 9 is a partially reusable, two-stage rocket. It is powered by nine SpaceX Merlin engines. Its first stage uses rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen, while the second stage uses liquid oxygen. The Falcon 9 can lift payloads of up to 50,300 pounds to low-Earth orbit, and 18,300 pounds to geostationary transfer orbit, or GTO. The first stage separates and re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, landing vertically.
L-44:00 NLM poll
L-38:00 Final propellant load poll
L-35:00 RP-1/LOX Load
L-10:00 Confirm spacecraft to internal power
L-7:00 Engine chill begins
L-6:00 Falcon 9 to internal power
L-5:00 RP-1 full
L-5:00 Spacecraft verified to internal power (NLM)
L-4:30 Strongback moved away from rocket
L-4:00 LD polls NLM for NASA go/no-go for launch (NLM)
L-3:00 Fueling (O2) complete (Stage 1 LOX close out)
L-3:00 Thrust vector control check
L-2:00 Range is GO
L-2:00 Stage 2 LOX close out
L-1:00 Falcon (vehicle) in start-up
L-1:00 Command flight computer final prelaunch checks
L-1:00 Propellant tanks pressurize for flight
L-0:45 GO for launch from LD
L-0:18 Sound suppression to flood pad
L-0:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Lifted Vertical at Pad
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite inside the payload fairing, is lifted to vertical at Space Launch Complex-4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Nov. 20, 2020.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Rolls to Pad
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite inside the payload fairing, rolls to Space Launch Complex-4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Nov. 20, 2020.
"Go" for launch
Launch and mission managers have completed the Launch Readiness Review for the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission. At the conclusion of the review, NASA’s Launch Services Program, SpaceX, the European Space Agency (ESA), and NOAA agreed to target the launch for 9:17 PST (12:17 p.m. EST) on Saturday, Nov. 21, from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
A prelaunch news conference will be held at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST), live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Participants are:
- Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for Science Mission Directorate, NASA HQ
- Johann-Dietrich Worner, Director-General, European Space Agency
- Pierrik Vuilleumier, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich project manager, ESA
- Parag Vaze, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich project manager, JPL
- Tim Dunn, NASA Launch Director, Launch Services Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
- Julianna Scheiman, program manager, NASA Launch Services, SpaceX
- Anthony Mastalir, commander, 30th Space Wing and Western Launch and Test Range
- John Ott, weather officer, 30th Space Wing
NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 8:45 a.m. PST (11:45 a.m. EST) on Nov. 21. You can follow the countdown milestones here on the blog and on NASA Television.
Live broadcast of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich science briefing from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PST, Nov. 20. Participants are:
- Karen St. Germain, director, NASA Earth Science Division, NASA HQ
- Josh Willis, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich project scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (remote)
- Craig Donlon, Sentinel-6 mission scientist, European Space Agency (remote)
- Remko Scharroo, programme scientist for Sentinel-6 EUMESTAT (remote)
- Deirdre Byrne, oceanographer, NOAA (remote)
- Luanne Thompson, Walters Professor of Oceanography, University of Washington (remote)
‘Go’ to Proceed Toward Nov. 21 Launch
The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean-monitoring satellite has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 9:17 a.m. PST (12:17 p.m. EST) on Saturday, Nov. 21, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
This mission is an international collaboration between NASA and several partners. It is the first of two identical satellites to be launched this year and in 2025 to continue observations of sea level change for at least the next decade.
Live launch coverage will begin at 8:45 a.m. PST (11:45 a.m. EST), on NASA Television and the agency’s website, with prelaunch and science briefings the day before on Nov. 20.
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Launch Update
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting Saturday, Nov. 21, at 12:17 p.m. EST (9:17 a.m. PST) for the launch of the U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean-monitoring satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The additional time allowed SpaceX to complete Falcon 9 Merlin engine testing and inspections following an on-pad abort during a non-NASA mission.
After completing engine testing and inspections, teams from NASA and SpaceX have determined that two engines on the Sentinel-6 rocket’s first stage would need to be replaced to ensure optimal performance during launch. Work is now progressing to implement the engine change and all engine hardware replacements will finish next week.
NASA’s Launch Services Program, SpaceX, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the European Space Agency continue the diligent work of preparing both the spacecraft and rocket as the launch campaign moves forward.