NASA Taps SpaceX, ULA To Launch Two Satellites

NASA has picked SpaceX to launch the Sentinel-6A ocean-observing satellite and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch the Landsat-9 Earth-imaging satellite, the agency announced Oct. 19.

Landsat-9 is slated to lift off as early as December 2020 on an Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing [BA] and Lockheed Martin [LMT] The launch is expected to cost about $153.8 million.

A launch of an Atlas V rocket. Photo: United Launch Alliance

A launch of an Atlas V rocket. Photo: United Launch Alliance

Orbital ATK [OA] is building Landsat-9 for NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The satellite, the latest in the long-running Landsat series, will collect images and data for research in agriculture, land-use mapping, emergency response and disaster relief.

Sentinel-6A is scheduled to lift off in November 2020 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg. The launch is expected to cost about $97 million.

Sentinel-6A is a partnership of NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Airbus Defense and Space is building Sentinel-6A, which will collect ocean surface height data.





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