A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent a new NASA and European Space Agency satellite on its way to orbit from California on Saturday morning. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is the latest in a series of satellites that have provided critical data about sea level rise and climate change for almost three decades. It's named for the former director of NASA's Earth Science Division, Michael Freilich, who's considered a pioneer in conducting oceanography work from orbit.
The new ocean-spying bird will be able to measure sea levels within a few centimeters for 90% of oceans around the globe. A twin satellite named Sentinel-6B will join the effort when it launches in 2025. Instruments on the new satellites will also provide data on atmospheric temperature and humidity that'll help improve weather forecasts, according to NASA.