SWOT has successfully made contact with ground stations here on Earth and is providing teams with early data on the spacecraft’s health.
A collaboration between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency, SWOT will provide high-resolution measurements of the height of water in the world’s ocean and freshwater bodies, providing information on the ocean’s surface topography in great detail and measuring how bodies of water change over time. The instruments on board will provide insight into the ocean’s role in climate change, as well as help communities monitor and plan for changes in water resources and the effects of rising seas.
To stay connected with the mission, visit us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and let others know you’re following it using the hashtag #TrackingWorldWater and tagging these accounts:
The Falcon 9’s second stage engine restarted for a short, six-second burn, and we have another successful second engine cutoff. Coming up next, in just under 10 minutes, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite will separate from the rocket.
While we wait for that second stage engine to restart, take a look at a few fun facts about today’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission:
SWOT is the fourth Launch Services Program (LSP) science mission to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9
SWOT is LSP’s 101st primary mission
SWOT is the third LSP mission to fly a previously flown Falcon 9 booster
The satellite can see lakes down to 250 meters by 250 meters (approximately 820 feet by 820 feet) – about the size of three New York City blocks
This will be the sixth overall LSP science mission to fly on a Falcon 9 (previous missions include Jason 3, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite [TESS], Double Asteroid Redirection Test [DART], and Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer [IXPE])
SWOT will observe the entire length of nearly all rivers wider than 100 meters (330 feet)
Stay with us here on the blog as we take you through some of the last major flight milestones, including spacecraft separation and signal acquisition.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines have finished their burn, and the first stage has separated from the rocket. As the second stage continues carrying the U.S.- and French-led Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite on its journey, the rocket’s first stage will attempt a controlled landing at Vandenberg Space Force Base’s landing zone 4.
Ignition, and liftoff! At 3:46 a.m. PST, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Space Launch Complex-4 East, carrying the first satellite to survey nearly all water on Earth’s surface.
Stay here on the blog as we take you through some key flight milestones, coming up in the next couple of minutes.
We are just over 15 minutes away from liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the Earth water-monitoring satellite to orbit. Weather continues to look good at 100% “go” for launch, and the rocket’s engines are chilling in preparation for launch.
As a reminder, the launch broadcast is airing now on NASA TV and the agency’s website. If teams are not able to launch at 3:46 a.m. PST, there’s an extra opportunity just 10 minutes later at 3:56 a.m. PST. Keep following along here on the blog for updates as we approach liftoff.
Water is an essential part of life on Earth, and now, scientists are using a satellite mission to take a closer look. A joint development between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite will survey nearly all water on the Earth’s surface for the first time.
The satellite, about the size of a mid-size SUV, will scan over 90% of the planet’s surface at least once every 21 days as it collects data on Earth’s salt- and freshwater bodies. It will measure the height of water in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and the ocean, helping researchers track the movement of water around the globe and better understand the role the ocean plays in climate change.
SWOT will also view ocean features in greater detail than ever before, revealing things such as fronts and eddies that are too small for current space-based satellites to detect. This will allow scientists to gather data close to the coast, in turn painting a clearer picture of sea level and how sea surface height interacts with the climate to affect things like storm surges and flooding on the coast.