The satellite that will allow British scientists to measure sea levels is launched into space with a SpaceX rocket.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich was successfully sent into orbit on the SpaceX Falcon 9 missile from a launch pad in California.

The Sentinel-6, which is the size of a compact SUV, will orbit the Earth from an altitude of 830 miles and collect ocean data said to be essential to monitoring climate change.

The information will be analyzed by UK climate and ocean experts, including experts from the Met Office and the National Oceanographic Center, to help predict what global sea levels might look like in the future.

SpaceX Sentinel-6 launch into space Friday afternoon. Credit NASA

Climate change Contributes to sea level change by warming the planet and causing melting of glaciers and polar ice caps.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said sea levels have risen at a rate of just over 3 mm each year since 1993, although this has accelerated over the past few years to 4.8 mm.

This is believed to increase further with the global temperature climate.

The UK government said Sentinel-6 will provide the only way to accurately measure global sea level, helping to protect 600 million people living in vulnerable coastal areas around the world.

What Copernicus Sentinel 6 might look like over the Andes.  European Space Agency credit
What Copernicus Sentinel 6 might look like in orbit over the Andes. European Space Agency credit

The satellite is named after the former head of NASA’s Department of Earth Sciences – Dr. Michael Freelich – and is part of the Copernicus mission under the European Union’s Earth Observation Program.

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It was jointly developed with the European Space Agency, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One of the most important indicators of our planet’s warming is tracking British Science Secretary Amanda Solway.

“This government-backed satellite will arm our top scientists, researchers and meteorologists with important data to gauge the true impact of climate change on our planet.”