US: The successful launch and landing of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket earlier this week likely came as a relief to the NASA and NOAA scientists who expect the commercial rocket to send their satellite into space next month. The Jason-3 satellite, the fourth in a series of sea level monitors, should launch Sunday, January 17 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, aboard the same type of rocket that brought SpaceX triumph. Previously, the explosion of a Falcon 9 over the summer delayed the Jason-3 from launching for months while NASA and SpaceX investigated.
“It was decided to go ahead and proceed and everyone is optimistic and confident we’re going to have a good launch. These satellite missions take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. When you have so many people counting on it and you have spent so much time and money building it, there is always a lot of pressure to get it right,” said Josh Willis, a NASA Jason-3 project scientist. According to Willis, it’ll be the first NASA satellite mission on a SpaceX vehicle. The latest iteration is a carbon copy replacement meant to carry on its forbearer’s mission to collect consistent data about climate and sea level changes. That data is used in forecasting and to study global warming.
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