NASA has announced that it has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the SENTINEL-6A mission. Launch is currently targeted for November 2020. The launch will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The total cost for NASA to launch SENTINEL-6A is approximately US$97 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.
The SENTINEL-6A mission, also known as Jason Continuity of Service (JASON-CS), is a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). This mission provides operational ocean altimetry to provide continuity of ocean topography measurements and continues the long-term global sea surface height data record begun in 1992 by the Topography Experiment (TOPEX)/POSEIDON and JASON 1, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/JASON-2 and JASON-3 missions. A secondary objective of the mission is to collect high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature, using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Radio-Occultation sounding technique, to assess temperature changes in the troposphere and stratosphere and to support numerical weather prediction.