NASA launches new mission to survey Earth's water

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography spacecraft onboard, California, U.S., December 16, 2022. /CFP

NASA launched the newest Earth science satellite on Friday to track nearly all the water on Earth surface.

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft was launched atop a SpaceX rocket at 3:46 a.m. Pacific Standard Time Friday, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in the western United States of California.

The satellite will measure the height of water in freshwater bodies and the ocean on more than 90 percent of Earth's surface, according to NASA.

This information will provide insights into how the ocean influences climate change, how a warming world affects lakes, rivers and reservoirs, and how communities can better prepare for disasters, such as floods, said NASA.

After SWOT separated from the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ground controllers acquired the satellite's signal. SWOT will undergo a series of checks and calibrations before it starts collecting science data in about six months, according to NASA.

Jointly developed by NASA and the French space agency Centre National D'Etudes Spatiales, with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency and United Kingdom Space Agency, SWOT is the first satellite mission that will observe nearly all water on Earth's surface, according to NASA.