Water-Monitoring Satellite Moves Closer to Launch
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission (SWOT) will help scientists monitor Earth’s ocean, as well as the amount of freshwater in its lakes and rivers when it launches in late 2022.
After engineers put together the spacecraft's payload of scientific instruments at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the satellite now moves to Cannes, France, to complete integration before it will be launched in late 2022. Project manager Parag Vaze explains.
SWOT is a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatial (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).
To learn more about the mission, visit: https://swot.jpl.nasa.gov/
SWOT Project manager Parag Vaze
We're at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in the spacecraft assembly facility. This is where we build, assemble and test major elements of the SWOT spacecraft.
We'll be measuring from space, the height of the oceans, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, all across the earth. We really want to understand how much there is, where it's coming from and where it's going.
This is a key milestone because it's built up now, ready to start its journey to France, to the next and last phase of the satellite development, which is putting it all together and preparing for launch, which we're expecting will happen at the end of next year.
SWOT is an international collaboration. That's a partnership between NASA and the French space agency, but we have additional collaborations with the Canadian space agency and the UK space agency. We have scientists and engineers all throughout the world, and we are inviting all of those global collaborators to help us succeed.
Earth science is a key part of the work we're doing here. In the same facility we have two major missions going between SWOT and also NISAR that are being developed in parallel. There are lots of other smaller earth science missions also active right now, Maya, PREFIRE, EMET.
Now we're expecting that we're going to be able to provide a lot of information in this coming decade that just didn't exist.