SpaceX has won another contract from NASA to launch one of the agency’s Earth science satellites in less than five years. The satellite in question is the Surface Water and Ocean Topography vehicle, or SWOT, and it’s designed to scan the planet’s oceans and provide the “first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water.” The satellite will ride to space on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, with a target launch date of April 2021 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
It marks yet another critical science mission that SpaceX will be launching for NASA. The company launched the Jason-3 ocean-monitoring satellite for the space agency in January, and in 2017 SpaceX is supposed to launch NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, designed to look for small planets around bright stars outside our Solar System.
“We’re excited to carry this critical science payload into orbit for NASA, the nation, and …