Securing the launch contract for NASA’s highly-valued project is expected to elevate the status of the aerospace corporation and restore the faith of the esteemed research agency in it after Florida launch pad explosion incidence.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, commonly recognised as SpaceX, has affirmed the news of acquiring a contract to launch a satellite developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Helmed by tech genius and billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX has secured the launch contract for NASA’s satellite, which is being developed under Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.
Details of the contract amount aren’t disclosed as the reputable aerospace research agency has underlined the significance of “procurement of sensitive information.” The satellite is slated for launch in early-2021 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base where it will be mounted atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Upon deployment into atmosphere, the satellite will commence surveillance of oceanic movements and capturing high-resolution images of surface water activities on Earth.
Business-wise, the launch of SWOT satellite is likely to cost NASA above US$ 100 million, with expenses of spacecraft processing, launch service, and additional assistance beyond SpaceX services included. SpaceX has issued a statement expressing its excitement to “carry this critical science payload into orbit.” Commenting on this novel venture, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President, added how the company appreciates “NASA’s partnership and confidence in SpaceX as a launch provider.” The SWOT mission satellite make its way into a list of NASA launch contracts procured by Space X since 2014. Beginning with over a US$ 3 billion contract for developing crew capsule that conveys astronauts to International Space Station, and launching Jason-3 satellite in January for calibrating ocean surface heights, SpaceX has now become a steadfast, devoted confederate for the space research agency.
Forlornly, the Hawthorne-based aerospace corporation suffered major setbacks and had to sojourn the launch of its Falcon 9 rockets after explosion of a commercial communication satellite took place on the Florida launch pad in September. The company has induced extensive investigation into the cause of explosion and is likely to get the problem fixed before resuming launches in December.