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Watch the highlights from SpaceX’s Sentinel-6 satellite launch

SpaceX nailed another rocket launch and landing on Saturday, November 21, this time sending the Sentinel-6 ocean-monitoring satellite into orbit.

SpaceX mission launches are always a sight to behold, with space fans truly spoiled by amazing footage showing the key stages in real time and in astonishing detail, including the rocket blasting off from the launchpad, the landing of the first-stage booster back on terra firma, and the actual deployment of the satellite in space. Sometimes we also get to see ships out in the ocean catching the two halves of the rocket fairing in giant nets.

Saturday’s mission went exactly according to plan, with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket departing Space Launch Complex 4E at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:17 a.m. PT.


— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 21, 2020

NASA posted this footage of the booster separation followed soon after by the fairing separation that revealed the satellite shortly before its deployment.

Booster separation, second-engine start, and fairing separation as the U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean-observing satellite is on its way to orbit.#SeeingTheSeas

— NASA (@NASA) November 21, 2020

A little while later, the first-stage booster arrived back on Earth, with this footage capturing the final stages of the journey back, including the touchdown.

Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on Landing Zone 4

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 21, 2020

Here are a couple more clips showing the launch and landing.

La même, faite par SpaceX.

— CapCom (@Capcominfo) November 22, 2020

Cameras on board the SpaceX spacecraft also captured the deployment of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, named in honor of the former chief of NASA’s Earth Science Division, who passed away in August.

Deployment of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich confirmed

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 21, 2020

The mission was a joint effort between the European Space Agency and NASA. The satellite is designed to collect data such as sea levels, and atmospheric temperature and humidity, and offers greater accuracy than ever before. An additional satellite designed to complement the work of the Sentinel-6, called Sentinel-6b, will head to orbit in five years’ time.

This year has been a particularly busy one for rocket launches, with a growing number of companies sending their machinery skyward, some of it toward Mars. Check out this compilation, complete with launch footage, of the most notable space missions that have taken place in recent months.

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Trevor Mogg
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