SpaceX is awarded a new contract by NASA to launch a new satellite in 2021. The rocket will launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will launch with a Falcon 9 rocket to take the research hardware into orbit. With this satellite, NASA will examine “the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water.” NASA will take detailed recordings which will hopefully reveal how the oceans change over time.
Costing $112 million
The mission will cost around $112 million but SpaceX will not get all the money. Some amount of the money will be set aside for other organizations for “additional support.”
This deal shows the expanding influence of SpaceX and Elon Musk on the space sector. SpaceX is bold and ambitious and led by a pragmatic billionaire who has a target to colonize Mars. The journey of SpaceX was not that smooth either, Falcon 9 exploded in Cape Canaveral in September which raised a lot of trust issues. But slowly SpaceX is revolutionizing the space sector.
At the moment they are handling resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and in development to build a manned version of their Dragon spacecraft. In January this year SpaceX delivered the Jason-3 satellite, an ocean-scanning satellite to NASA and some other scientific organizations. Next year it will launch the planet seeking TESS satellite.