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US-European Satellite to Track World’s Water


Published on: November 23, 2021,

A satellite is an object that has been intentionally placed into orbit. These objects are called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth’s Moon. An international team of engineers and technicians has finished assembling a next generation satellite that will survey of Earth’s surface and study ocean currents. It will be named surface water and ocean topography ( SWOT) and is a collaboration between NASA and French space agency center ( CNES) along with contributions from Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency ( UK Space agency). The satellite will collect data on the height of Earth’s salt and fresh water. It will track the volume and location of water around the world.


SWOT will help to measure of climate change on planet’s water. It will measure how much water flows into planet’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs as well as regional shifts in sea level. “ SWOT will be global snapshot of all surface water that we have now, how the water moves around the planet and what happens to it in a new climate.” Said Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer, SWOT program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The best part has been seeing two complex systems that were built across the world from each other by different teams come together and work,” said JPL’s Said Kaki, the deputy project manager for SWOT


Testing Phase


The next six months will involve three phases of testing to understand if satellite can survive rigors of launch and harsh environment of space. Engineers and technicians will attach satellite to a device called a shake table which stimulates intense vibrations and the spacecraft will move into acoustic chamber to bombard it. Then lastly engineers will put satellite into additional tests to make sure its system can withstand any electromagnetic interference.


“After that, we button up the spacecraft and ship it to the launch site,” said Kaki. At Vandenberg, the team will put the finishing touches on the satellite to ready it for launch, which is scheduled for no earlier than November 2022.The mission’s team will also ensure whether science instruments will collect data properly and measure what they are supposed to be measuring.



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