International SWOT Mission Now Targeting Dec. 12 Launch

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite is loaded into a container in Cannes, France, in preparation for its transportation to the United States.
Workers in a clean room in Cannes, France, load the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite into a container in preparation for shipping the spacecraft to the U.S. Photo credit: CNES/Thales Alenia Space

NASA, the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), and SpaceX are now targeting Monday, Dec. 12, for the launch of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch SWOT from Space Launch Complex-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

After considering the schedule for completion of the satellite build, transportation of the SWOT spacecraft from France to Vandenberg , and carrying out the remaining launch campaign tasks, the team determined that additional time was needed to conduct these activities and ready the satellite for launch.

SWOT is the first satellite mission that will survey nearly all water on Earth’s surface. Its instruments will measure the height of water in the planet’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and the ocean in higher definition than ever before. This will help to inform water equity and water management decisions, provide new insights into Earth’s water and energy cycle, and help prepare communities for rising seas and changing coastlines in a warming climate.