April 13, 2024

NASA Successfully Launches Game-Changing SWOT Mission To Survey Earth’s Water

On Friday, December 16, 2022, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft onboard from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Jointly established by NASA and Centre National DEtudes Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency, SWOT is the first satellite objective that will observe nearly all water on Earths surface, determining the height of water in the worlds lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and the ocean. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft released atop a SpaceX rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. SWOT was built for NASA and the French space firm Centre National dÉtudes Spatiales (CNES) and also has contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency.
CNES offered the Doppler Orbitography and Radioposition Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) system, the dual frequency Poseidon altimeter (established by Thales Alenia Space), the KaRIn radio-frequency subsystem (together with Thales Alenia Space and with support from the UK Space Agency), the satellite platform, and ground control segment.

After SWOT separated from the second phase of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ground controllers effectively acquired the satellites signal. Preliminary telemetry reports revealed the spacecraft in good health. SWOT will now undergo a series of checks and calibrations before it starts collecting science information in about 6 months.
” Warming seas, extreme weather, more severe wildfires– these are just some of the consequences humankind is facing due to climate modification,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The climate crisis requires an all-hands-on-deck method, and SWOT is the awareness of an enduring international partnership that will eventually much better equip communities so that they can face these difficulties.”
SWOT will cover the whole Earths surface area between 78 degrees south and 78 degrees north latitude at least once every 21 days, sending back about one terabyte of unprocessed data per day. KaRIn bounces radar pulses off the waters surface area and receives the return signal using 2 antennas on either side of the spacecraft.
This illustration portrays the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite, a mission led by NASA and the French area firm Centre National dÉtudes Spatiales (CNES). The clinical heart of the SWOT satellite is the Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) instrument, which will measure the height of water in Earths lakes, rivers, tanks, and ocean. Mounted at the ends of a boom 33 feet (10 meters) long, the antennas will collect information over two swaths of Earths surface area at a time, each of them 30 miles (50 kilometers) wide and located on either side of the satellite.
” Were excited to see SWOT in action,” stated Karen St. Germain, NASA Earth Science Division director. “This satellite embodies how we are improving life on Earth through science and technological developments. The data that innovation will supply is vital to much better understanding how Earths air, water, and ecosystems communicate– and how people can thrive on our altering planet.”
A substantially clearer image of Earths freshwater bodies is among the many benefits the SWOT objective will deliver. SWOT will push that number into the millions.
Along the coast, SWOT will offer information on water level, filling in observational gaps in locations that dont have tide evaluates or other instruments that measure sea surface area height. In time, that information can help researchers better track water level rise, which will straight affect communities and seaside communities.
This illustration illustrates the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, an objective led by NASA and the French area firm Centre National dÉtudes Spatiales (CNES). The clinical heart of the SWOT satellite is the Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) instrument, which will determine the height of water in Earths lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Such an enthusiastic mission is possible since of NASAs long-standing dedication to working with companies around the world to study Earth and its climate. NASA and CNES have actually constructed upon a decades-long relationship that began in the 1980s to keep an eye on Earths oceans. This collaboration pioneered the usage of a space-based instrument called an altimeter to study sea level with the launch of the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite in 1992.
” This objective marks the continuity of 30 years of partnership between NASA and CNES in altimetry,” stated Caroline Laurent, CNES Orbital Systems and Applications director. “It demonstrates how worldwide collaboration can be attained through an advancement objective that will help us better comprehend environment change and its effects all over the world.”
SWOT measurements will likewise help researchers, policymakers, and resource supervisors better assess and plan for things, including dry spells and floods. By providing info on where the water is– where its originating from and where its going– scientists can improve flood forecasts for rivers and monitor dry spell effects on lakes and tanks.
” SWOT will offer important info, provided the urgent difficulties positioned by climate modification and sea level rise,” said Laurie Leshin, NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory director. JPL established the KaRIn instrument and manages the U.S. part of the mission. “That SWOT will fill spaces in our knowledge and notify future action is the direct result of development, partnership, and dedication returning lots of years. Were excited to get SWOT science underway.”
More Mission Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, leads the U.S. element of the task. For the flight system payload, NASA supplied the KaRIn instrument, a GPS science receiver, a laser retroreflector, a two-beam microwave radiometer, and NASA instrument operations. CNES supplied the Doppler Orbitography and Radioposition Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) system, the double frequency Poseidon altimeter (established by Thales Alenia Space), the KaRIn radio-frequency subsystem (together with Thales Alenia Space and with support from the UK Space Agency), the satellite platform, and ground control section. CSA provided the KaRIn high-power transmitter assembly. NASA offered the launch car and the agencys Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, managed the associated launch services.

On Friday, December 16, 2022, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft onboard from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Jointly developed by NASA and Centre National DEtudes Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency, SWOT is the very first satellite objective that will observe almost all water in the worlds surface area, determining the height of water in the planets lakes, rivers, tanks, and the ocean. Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, which is led by NASA and the French area firm CNES, will supply high-definition information on the salt- and fresh water in the worlds surface area.
A satellite developed to observe nearly all the water on our worlds surface area lifted off on its way to low-Earth orbit at 3:46 a.m. PST on Friday, December 16. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft released atop a SpaceX rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. SWOT was developed for NASA and the French area firm Centre National dÉtudes Spatiales (CNES) and also has contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency.
With a prime objective of three years, the SWOT satellite will determine the height of water in freshwater bodies and the ocean on more than 90% of Earths surface area. This data will supply new insights into how the ocean influences climate change; how a warming world affects reservoirs, rivers, and lakes; and how neighborhoods can much better get ready for catastrophes, such as floods.