Officials from NASA and partner agencies will discuss the upcoming launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean-monitoring satellite during a media briefing at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. PDT), Friday, Oct. 16. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10. The media briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.


The spacecraft is named in honor of Michael Freilich, the former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division and tireless advocate for advancing satellite measurements of the ocean. After launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California and once in orbit, the satellite will collect sea level measurements down to a few centimeters across 90% of the world’s ocean. 


Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is the first of two Copernicus Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) satellites launching five years apart and will extend a nearly 30-year dataset of ocean data. The mission is being developed jointly by ESA (European Space Agency) in the context of the European Copernicus program led by the European Commission, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with funding support from the European Commission and contributions from France’s space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.


Briefing participants, in speaking order, are:


  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington
  • Pierre Delsaux, deputy director general for space, European Commission in Brussels
  • Josef Aschbacher, director for Earth Observation Programmes at ESA, from the ESA Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy
  • Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington
  • Alain Ratier, director-general of EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany
  • Parag Vaze, project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California
  • Nadya Vinogradova-Shiffer, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Tim Dunn, launch director for NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida


This event is open to U.S. and international media. Media who would like to ask questions via phone during the event must provide their name and affiliation by 7:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 p.m. PDT) Thursday, Oct. 15, to Rexana Vizza at or by calling 818-393-1931. Valid media credentials are required. 


Media and the public also may ask questions using the hashtag #SeeingTheSeas on social media during the briefing.


To learn more about NASA’s study of sea level rise, visit:


For more information about Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, visit: