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Status: Future
Mission Category: Inter-Agency Partnerships
Launch Date: November 2026

The Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission on the Sentinel-6 spacecraft is an international partnership between the U.S. and Europe. Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 includes two identical satellites with the first launched November 21, 2020 (Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich) and the second scheduled for launch in 2025 (satellite B).

Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 will ensure continuity of sea level observations into a fourth decade. Like their predecessors, these satellites will provide ongoing measurements of global sea level rise – one of the most important indicators of human-caused climate change. The data will also support operational oceanography through improved forecasts of ocean currents as well as wind and wave conditions. This data will allow improvements in both short-term forecasting for weather predictions in the two- to four-week range (e.g. hurricane intensity predictions), and long-term forecasting for seasonal conditions (e.g. El Niño, La Niña).

With a new experiment: Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO), Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 will also aid weather prediction. Watching GNSS satellites as they disappear over the horizon will provide detailed information about the layers in the atmosphere. This information will contribute to computer models that predict the weather and enhance forecasting capabilities.

Since 1992, high-precision satellite altimeters have been essential in helping scientists understand how the ocean stores and redistributes heat, water, and carbon in the climate system. The Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 satellites will extend this legacy through at least 2030, providing a nearly 40-year record of sea level rise, along with changes in ocean currents and conditions.

Key Sentinel-6B Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 1336km
Inclination: 66°
Instruments: The satellite will carry several instruments to support science goals. The Poseidon-4 Altimeter will bounce signals off the ocean surface. Sea surface height will be determined based on the time it takes each pulse to travel from the satellite to the ocean and back again. An Advanced Microwave Radiometer (AMR) will retrieve the amount of water vapor between the satellite and ocean, which affects the travel speed of radar pulses. Radio Occultation Antennas will measure the delay of radio signals between Jason-CS and global navigation satellites (GPS) as they slice through different layers of the atmosphere. Other onboard instruments will be used to determine the satellite’s position, including a Precise Orbit Determination (POD) suite comprising Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, a Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) and a Doppler Orbitography Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) system. Instruments will also perform data downlinks (S-band and X-band antennas), and supply power (Solar Array).