NASA Taps SpaceX to Launch Surface Water Survey Satellite

NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, rendering. Photo: NASA

NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, rendering. Photo: NASA

[Via Satellite 11-23-2016] NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the agency’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. NASA targets launch for April 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, according to a statement released by the agency.

The total cost for NASA to launch SWOT is approximately $112 million, which includes the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, and tracking, data and telemetry support.

Designed to make the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water, in addition to high-resolution ocean measurements, the SWOT mission will collect detailed measurements of how water bodies on Earth change over time. The satellite will survey at least 90 percent of the globe, studying Earth’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans, at least twice every 21 days. The data will aid in freshwater management around the world to improve ocean circulation models and weather and climate predictions. The SWOT spacecraft will be jointly developed and managed by NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The SWOT Project office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages spacecraft development for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

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