SpaceX delays Falcon 9 launch of SWOT ocean research mission

SpaceX has delayed its next Falcon 9 mission from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, carrying the joint NASA/CNES Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite. The launch is now scheduled for 3:46 AM PST (11:46 UTC) on Friday, Dec. 16, to allow teams to complete further data review and analysis after moisture was identified in two of the first stage’s Merlin engines. The first stage expected to perform a Return to Launch Site landing at Landing Zone 4 during the mission. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission, otherwise known as SWOT, is a joint project being led by NASA and the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) to observe and collect data on bodies of water around the globe. The UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are also contributing to the program. SWOT aims to conduct the first global study of freshwater bodies, measuring the height of water in individual rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The data it gathers will allow scientists to further study the effects of climate change on our planet. This will provide a more thorough understanding of how seawater absorbs carbon and atmospheric heat which are the causes of…

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SpaceX delays Falcon 9 launch of SWOT ocean research mission

Updated: December 14, 2022 — 9:26 pm