SpaceX News & Update: Elon Musk Wins NASA's Launch Contract For Earth's Water Survey; Can Company Deliver?
NASA has officially selected Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX to its project of launching Surface Water and Ocean Topography or SWOT to orbit the Earth. The surface water survey satellite mission is expected to launch on April 2021 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
SpaceX has been granted a SWOT contract of NASA's mission to survey Earth's surface water and the ocean topography with the use of a surface water survey satellite. The satellite will board the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E.
According to NASA, the SWOT project also known as the Surface Water Survey Satellite is "the first-ever global survey of Earth's surface water." The mission will cost an approximate amount of $112 million. The contract granted to SpaceX includes "the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration with tracking and data with telemetry support."
The SWOT mission features high-resolution of detailed measurements of the Earth's water bodies' movement and change over time. The surface water survey satellite of NASA and SpaceX will orbit 90 percent of the Earth. The study covers Earth's lakes, rivers, oceans and even the water reservoirs.
The plan is to make surface water survey satellite boarding from SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to orbit the Earth with a minimum of twice every 21 days. The SWOT aims to improve freshwater management, update ocean circulation models and have better predictions for the weather and climate.
According to Spaceflight Insider, the French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales will collaborate with NASA to develop surface water survey satellite or the SWOT spacecraft. SpaceX will only be responsible for launching the spacecraft and other things specified in the contract.
Meanwhile, aside from SWOT or surface water survey satellite mission, SpaceX has other plans in the future. The founder, Elon Musk also plans to launch thousands of satellites in space that will provide a high-speed internet on Earth. The futuristic plans and the big amount of money needed could lead to doubts if the company has enough capital to fund it. Hopefully, the company can deliver its plans.