VANDENBERG — Team Vandnberg and SpaceX are scheduled to launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Sentinel-6 launch, scheduled for 9:17 a.m. today, is the first of two identical satellites to head into Earth orbit five years apart to continue sea level observation for at least the next decade, according to officials.
Upon the re-entry of the vehicle, spectators and local residents from Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties can anticipate to hear multiple sonic booms, as the vehicle breaks the sound barrier.
A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or launch vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate a sound similar to an explosion or a clap of thunder. The sonic boom experienced will depend on weather conditions and other factors, officials said.
The satellite will head into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the agency’s contribution to the mission.
In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, the normal public viewing area on Azalea Lane off of State Route 1 just a half mile south of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s main gate will not be open to the public.
Live launch coverage will begin at 8:45 a.m. PST on NASA Television and the agency’s website, https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive.
— Mitchell White