Tag Archives: Earth science

SpaceX wins NASA satellite launch contract

The competition heats up: NASA has awarded SpaceX the contract to launch its Earth science satellite, Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT).

This sentence from the press release is puzzling:

The total cost for NASA to launch SWOT is approximately $112 million, which includes the launch service; spacecraft processing; payload integration; and tracking, data and telemetry support.

Since SpaceX touts a launch price for its Falcon 9 rocket as $62 million, I wonder why this launch will cost NASA almost twice as much. Was there so little competition in the bidding that SpaceX could bid higher and thus get more money? Or is NASA so disinterested in saving money that it left itself open to overpaying for something that everyone else gets for far else?

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