SWOT satellite was launched on Friday

(ORDO NEWS) — A US-French satellite that will map almost all of the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers was launched into orbit on Friday.

The launch took place early in the morning on a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Nicknamed SWOT (short for Surface Water and Ocean Topography), scientists say the satellite is needed more than ever as climate change exacerbates droughts, floods and coastline erosion.

The satellite will measure the height of water over more than 90% of the Earth‘s surface, allowing scientists to track currents and identify potential high-risk areas.

It will also survey millions of lakes and 2.1 million kilometers of rivers.

The satellite will send out radar pulses to the Earth, and the signals will bounce back to be received by a pair of antennas.

SWOT should distinguish between currents and eddies less than 21 km across, as well as areas of the ocean where water of different temperatures merges.

NASA‘s current “fleet” of nearly 30 Earth observation satellites cannot see such minor features.

And although these old satellites can display the extent of lakes and rivers, their measurements are not as detailed.

The satellite will show the rate of sea level rise and shifting coastlines, which is key to saving lives and property.

He will explore the globe between the Arctic and Antarctica at least once every three weeks. The mission is expected to last three years.

NASA and the French Space Agency collaborated on the SWOT project, which was developed for about 20 years with the participation of the UK and Canada. Its cost was $1.2 billion.

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