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SpaceX gets $80 million from NASA to launch its Earth Science mission in 2022

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a TESS spacecraft lifts off Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. TESS, which stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is a telescope/camera that will hunt for undiscovered worlds around nearby stars, providing targets where future studies will assess their capacity to harbor life, NASA says. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

SpaceX will get $80.4 million from NASA to launch the agency’s 2022 Earth science mission, known as PACE.

NASA announced this week that SpaceX would provide the thrust for the mission with a Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to launch in December 2022 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The 3,700 pound PACE spacecraft, which stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud ocean Ecosystem, will analyze how climate change impacts the planet’s oceans and atmosphere. Scientists will also be able to investigate organism diversity in the marine food web, as well as gather additional data to improve global climate models.

SpaceX will be using a previously flown Falcon 9 for the mission. Elon Musk’s rocket company has already flown other science mission for NASA, including the planet-hunting TESS mission in 2018.

“SpaceX is honored to continue supporting NASA’s critical scientific observational missions by launching PACE, which will help humanity better understand, protect, and preserve our planet,” said Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and chief operating officer.

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© 2020 The Orlando Sentinel

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.