SpaceX Surface Water and Ocean Topography Launch

SpaceX plans to launch the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite for NASA and the French, Canadian, and United Kingdom space agencies on 2022-12-16 at 11:46 UTC. The launch will be from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The first stage booster, B1071, will be making its sixth flight, after a turnaround time of 72 days since its last mission. The first stage booster will return to the launch site for a landing at Landing Zone 4.

The payload, a ocean science satellite, will be placed in an 845 km orbit at 77.6° inclination (which will require a “dog leg” trajectory from the Vandenberg launch site), then eventually raise itself to its 890 km operational altitude.

Here is the pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.

Update: The launch was postponed one day from its originally scheduled date of 2022-12-15 due to discovery of moisture in two of the Falcon 9 first stage booster’s engines. The delay is to “review data” and make sure nothing’s wrong. (2022-12-15 14:06 UTC)

1 Like

Here is a pre-launch news conference about SWOT, the launch, and the science it is designed to return.