Oceanographic satellite SWOT has problems

The American-French satellite SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) has technical problems with the main scientific instrument. This is stated in a message published on the mission’s blog.

The SWOT satellite in the artist’s image. Source: NASA

SWOT was launched in December 2022. The spacecraft is designed for oceanographic research. The satellite must observe the smallest details of the topography of oceans, lakes, rivers and other water resources and determine how they change over time. For this purpose, the SWOT is equipped with a KARIN (Ka-band Radar Interferometer) synthesized aperture radar. It consists of a pair of antennas placed at opposite ends of a ten-meter mast fixed to the satellite body.

In January 2023, mission specialists began activating and calibrating SWOT instruments. It was planned that they would be completed by July, after which the spacecraft would begin to carry out its scientific program. 

However, there were problems with this. During the activation of KARIN, the instrument suddenly turned off the signal amplifier. Currently, mission specialists are analyzing telemetry in search of a solution to the problem. Since KARIN is a key SWOT tool, the fate of the entire mission depends on how successfully they manage to cope with this task.

Earlier we talked about how NASA managed to get the MAVEN spacecraft out of safe mode.

According to https://blogs.nasa.gov

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