Falcon 9 launches PACE Earth science mission

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 placed a NASA Earth science satellite into orbit Feb. 8 on a launch that was the first of its kind for the U.S. government in more than 60 years.
A Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:33 a.m. Eastern after two days of delays caused by high winds. It placed into a sun-synchronous orbit NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem, or PACE, spacecraft.
PACE carries instruments to study both ocean color as a means to monitor biological activity like phytoplankton as well as clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere. The mission, developed at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland with a total cost including reserves of $964 million, is designed to last three years, although scientists anticipate it operating for at least a decade.
“In many ways, we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our own oceans,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA

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