A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as a part of the Division of Protection’s House Check Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complicated 39A on June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy House Middle in Florida.Picture: Joel Kowsky/NASA (Getty Photos)Elon Musk’s SpaceX has gained a $152.5 million federal contract to launch an essential new climate satellite tv for pc into area.On Friday, NASA introduced that it had chosen the agency’s Falcon Heavy heavy-lift launch rocket to move the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite tv for pc-U (GOES-U) into geostationary orbit tens of hundreds of miles into area. As soon as it’s up there, the satellite tv for pc will gather pictures and atmospheric measurements of climate, oceans, and environmental techniques, map out lightning in actual time, and enhance monitoring for photo voltaic exercise and area climate.GOES-U’s launch will mark the fourth and closing satellite tv for pc of the GOES-R sequence, the primary of which was launched in 2016. A collaboration between NASA and the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it’s essentially the most superior fleet of climate satellites the U.S. runs, offering an unparalleled have a look at Earth. Whereas they’re on the bottom, the satellites are recognized by letters. As soon as in orbit, although, they’ll tackle a numbered title. (GOES-U would be the nineteenth GOES satellite tv for pc and presumably be GOES-19.)The launch, which is scheduled to happen in April 2024 from Florida’s Kennedy House Middle, is a giant win for SpaceX. It comes after competing spacecraft launch service supplier United Launch Alliance withdrew its bid. In 2019, ULA was awarded a smaller contract to launch the third satellite tv for pc in GOES-R sequence generally known as GOES-T (sure, it’s loads of GOES), and can accomplish that in January 2022. However the firm mentioned it didn’t have any acceptable automobiles out there for the fourth mission, opening the door for SpaceX to step in.Missions like these are essential alternatives to be taught extra about each Earth and area. The brand new GOES satellite tv for pc, as an example, is predicted to enhance climate forecasting at a time when excessive climate is turning into all of the extra widespread and erratic, which means it might truly save lives. Much less essential however nonetheless cool is that it’ll additionally present beautiful pictures of our planet.G/O Media could get a commissionSpaceX has been racking up contracts for Falcon Heavy. In July, NASA selected the agency to ship the Falcon Heavy rocket to certainly one of Jupiter’s moons to search for indicators of aquatic alien life, and in April, NASA contractor Astrobiotic additionally picked the agency to ship a NASA lunar lander to the moon’s yet-unexplored south pole in late 2023. The agency makes boatloads of cash from these contracts, which provides Musk, a person already recognized for screwed-up labor practices, extra energy. Whereas placing a satellite tv for pc in area for HD climate observations is undoubtedly cool, maybe there’s a extra democratic strategy to get future ones up there.