NASA, SpaceX Delay Launch of Sentinel-6 Satellite

NASA and SpaceX have decided to delay the launch of the ocean-mapping satellite Sentinel-6 that was scheduled to launch on November 10. Sentinel-6 is now scheduled to launch on November 21.

The delay will give SpaceX extra time to ensure that its Falcon 9 rockets will no longer be affected by an issue that stopped the launch of a GPS satellite on October 2. The problem was tracked down to a substance coating an engine gas generator on the first stage booster. According to NASA statements, SpaceX will replace two engines on the Falcon 9 that will be used for the Sentinel-6 launch.

“After completing engine testing and inspections, teams from NASA and SpaceX have determined that two engines on the Sentinel-6 rocket’s first stage would need to be replaced to ensure optimal performance during launch,” NASA said in a press release.

Improved Data Modeling Can Help With Taking Climate Change More Seriously

Improvements to modeling and predictions of climate change can help scientists convince the world to take climate change more seriously. One problem that the issue has had is that inaccurate modeling can present alarming scenarios. Politicians can also exaggerate the problem for their own gain.

For instance, Al Gore has been accused of contributing to the perception that climate change is a fraud because he parlayed the problem into a personal fortune, presented several doomsday scenarios rather than attempt to address the problem rationally, and fired at least one scientist who went on record as protesting against his alarmism.

This could be compared to Elon Musk’s approach of quietly sinking a fortune into the development of the popular Tesla electric vehicles and investment in solar powered Supercharger stations. He doesn’t need alarmism. He is simply attempting to solve the problem by making electric vehicles that can begin the process of moving away from fossil fuels. He has also made deals with North American mining companies for “zero-waste” sourcing of nickel.

Sentinel-6 is part of a series of satellites meant to study the effects of climate change on Earth, especially the planet’s oceans. It will especially add to the understanding of rise in ocean levels that could impact coastal regions and inhabited islands, as well as track the motion of deep ocean currents.

Data from satellites like Sentinel-6 can help scientists make their modeling of the effects of climate change more accurate. This can help solve the common criticism that predictions about the future effect of climate change are often inaccurate and exaggerated so that they can be used by politicians running for office to effectively “cry wolf”.

The historical geological record does indicate that extreme climate change can and has happened in the distant past. Improved data produced by satellites like Sentinel-6, as well as better predictions by scientists rather than the simple presentation of imaginary worst-case scenarios by politicians who want to use it for their own gain, can help humanity plan for the most likely scenarios.

No Other Changes in Launch Schedule

The change in launch scheduling is not likely to affect the launch of the crewed mission, Crew-1, to the International Space Station scheduled for November 14. Crew-1 had also been delayed from its original October 31 launch date due to the same issue with the GPS satellite launch.

SpaceX believes that it has the issue with the engine gas generator resolved. The delay in the Sentinel-6 launch is simply a precaution that gives it time to replace engines.