Despite their recent troubles over a rocket explosion, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has won another contract from NASA to launch a satellite for the agency. April 2021 will see the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite sent into orbit on one of SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 rockets that’s launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
NASA’s SWOT satellite will be used in “the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water,” offering a detailed look at how the planet’s oceans change with time.
This contract marks another big success for SpaceX, which has already cooperated with NASA on a number of missions. Along with regularly delivering supplies to the International Space Station, the rocket company launched Jason-3, another ocean-monitoring satellite, back in January, and is scheduled to launch NASA’s TESS satellite next year in order to search for planets outside our Solar System.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, commented that they’re “excited to carry this critical science payload into orbit for NASA, the nation, and the international community,” adding that they “appreciate NASA’s partnership and confidence in SpaceX as a launch provider.”