SpaceX has launched the previously flown Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Liftoff which was scheduled for 3:47 PM ET was gone as per planned and the launch was successful. The Falcon 9 rocket carries payload which includes Iridium NEXT communication satellites and twin GRACE-FO satellites.
The twin satellites are designed in such a way that it will be work in unison way by using the microwave signals to communicate to monitor the Earth’s water cycle, crust, ice sheets and atmosphere to take a close look at our changing climate. GRACE-FO’s data will be used to manage the Earth’s water resources which are more efficient. According to the Michael Watkins, who is the GRACE-FO science lead and director said, “Water is critical to every aspect of life on Earth for health, for agriculture, for maintaining our way of living. You can’t manage it well until you can measure it. GRACE-FO provides a unique way to measure water in many of its phases, allowing us to manage water resources more effectively.”
SpaceX rocket first deployed GRACE-FO in orbit and after that, the second stage reignites again. The second stage ignition took place, and it then goes up more to deploy the Iridium Satellites. During this, Falcon 9 has done a pit stop to deliver the GRACE-FO satellites then it goes up to 500 miles to deliver the next payload in the targeted orbit. GRACE-FO will deploy at 300 miles up and in this time the rocket will dip its nose and spin a bit to deploy the GRACE-FO satellite.
GRACE-FO are developed by a joint project between NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences. This mission is scheduled to last five years. This new mission is the replacement for the original GRACE mission which was ended in 2017, and it lasts for 15 years.