Watch NASA’s latest water satellite unfold itself in space – The Indian Express

After launching from Southern California, NASA’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography or SWOT satellite unfolded its large mast and antenna panels after successfully deploying the solar panel arrays that power the spacecraft. The advanced radar satellite will give scientists an unprecedented view of the water bodies on our planet, revealing new insights into the mechanics and consequences of climate change.
The satellite’s two antennae successfully deployed over a period of four days and two cameras focused on the “KaRIn” antennas captured the mast extending out from the spacecraft and locking in place. The cameras stopped short of capturing the antennas being fully deployed but the team confirmed it with telemetry data. You can watch the video of the “sails” unfurling below.
The two KaRIn (Ka-band Radar Interferometer) antennas are located about 10 metres apart at either end of the mast. They are designed to capture precise measurements of the height of water in our planet’s water bodies. The instrument will be able to detect eddies, currents and other ocean features that are less than 20 kilometres across. It will also collect data on lakes that are larger than 62,500 square metres and rivers that measure more than 100 metres across.
The interferometer is able to do this by bouncing radar pulses off the surface of water on our planet. It receives the signals on both of these antennas and collects data along a region that is 50 kilometres wide on either side of the satellite. SWOT’s data will help scientists address some of the most urgent climate change questions.
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