NASA has chosen SpaceX to launch weather satellites as part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) mission.
The agency announced the partnership, which involves a $ 152.5 million contract, on Friday.
According to NASA, the GOES-U mission will provide advanced images and atmospheric measurements of the planet’s weather, oceans and environment.
It will also involve real-time mapping of total lightning activity and improved monitoring of solar activity.
The decision comes after the United Launch Alliance (ULA) withdrew its bid because it no longer had the vehicles available to launch the satellites, Space News reported.
ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye told Space News: “All of the remaining 29 rockets have been sold to customers for future launches, so we had to pull out our bid for NASA’s GOES-U launch service.”
The launch is scheduled to take place in April 2024 from Launch Complex 29A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The GOES-U award adds an increasing number of Falcon Heavy launches to SpaceX.
In July, NASA chose SpaceX to send a spacecraft to Jupiter’s moon Europe. Europa Clipper aims to search for signs of alien life in water in an underground ocean, reported Insiders Morgan McFall-Johnsen.
SpaceX has also secured a contract from rocket company Astrobotic to send a new water fighter to the moon’s unexplored south pole.
On Wednesday, SpaceX will send non-professional astronauts on a mission to orbit the Earth. The Inspiration4 mission involves a four-person crew consisting of a billionaire, a medical assistant, an engineer and a scientist.
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