NASA awards ULA and SpaceX with contracts for launching Sentinel-6A and Landsat-9

NASA announced that awarder ULA and SpaceX with contracts for delivering to orbit two satellites in 2020 and 2021.

NASA has selected launch service providers and announced about planned launch dates. SpaceX was awarded with contract for delivering Sentinel-6A mission in November 2020 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. United Launch Alliance is going to launch Atlas V (401 configuration) in June 2021 with Landsat-9 under the payload fairing from SLC-3E also from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Sentinel-6A is result of the cooperation between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ESA and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites(EUMETSAT). Satellite will provide ocean altimetry and help in ocean topography measurements. Satellite will also provide troposphere and stratosphere temperature vertical profiles useful for weather forecasting thanks to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio-occultation sounding technique.

Landsat-9 is also result of joined effort, this time of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Mission of this satellite will be focused on monitoring different land resources. It will be equipped with OLI-2 imager built by Ball Aerospace for  multispectral observations. Satellite will replace Landsat-8 (launched in 2013) after it reach end of its operational life after using all the propellant. Operational life of Landsat satellites is predicted for 5 years.