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Charles Bolden: NASA, French Space Agency Expand Topography Mission Partnership

Surface Water and Ocean Topography spacecraftNASA and French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales have partnered to construct, launch and operate a spacecraft that will work to survey the Earth’s surface water and map ocean surface heights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall have signed an agreement to move forward a partnership the agencies started in 2009 to carry out feasibility studies on the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission, NASA said Friday.

Both agencies expect to complete a spacecraft design by 2016 and carry out a launch in 2020.

“With this mission, NASA builds on a legacy of Earth science research and our strong relationship with CNES to develop new ways to observe and understand our changing climate and water resources,” said Bolden.

NASA and CNES aim to bolster their freshwater management, weather and climate predictions and ocean circulation models by using the SWOT spacecraft.

Responsibilities for both agencies are as follows:

  • NASA — payload module, GPS receiver module, Microwave Radiometer and antenna, Ka-band Radar Interferometer, laser retroreflector array, ground support, launch services.
  • CNES — spacecraft bus, KaRIn Radio Frequency Unit, Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite receiver package, dual frequency Ku/C-band Nadir Altimeter, satellite command and control, data processing infrastructure.

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