SWOT: a revolutionary satellite to observe water on Earth

Very accurate new data

Embedded in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the SWOT satellite will be able to monitor the surface of the oceans and bodies of water in Canada and elsewhere on Earth. Its technology will help determine how much and how fast lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans are changing over time. The long-term goal: to improve the way we manage water on our planet.

A new technology

SWOT will go into orbit at an altitude of 890 km. It is equipped with a revolutionary instrument: a “wide swath interferometer” designed to measure the height of the water. This tool has two radar antennas, making it possible to produce a two-dimensional image. This will make the measurement more accurate. “We want a resolution that is ten times greater than what current technologies produce to measure the height of the sea”, explains Karen St. Germain, director of Earth observation at NASA.

To improve our knowledge

The results and measurements from the SWOT satellite will improve several Canadian services, such as water management, responsible resource development and even environmental monitoring. This 2.2-ton behemoth is on a mission for a total of three years, and its budget is 1.1 billion US dollars.

Sources: CatNight and the Government of Canada

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