Officials at the American space agency announced recently that they decided to go with the Falcon 9 v1.0 delivery system for the upcoming Jason-3 mission. The rocket is developed and built by Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX).
The upcoming satellite, an operational ocean altimetry mission dedicated to measuring sea surface height with extreme precision, will be operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and will launch in December 2014.
Takeoff will occur from Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4) at the Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), in California. Once in orbit, the satellite will also help monitor global ocean circulation and sea levels.
The contract between NASA and SpaceX, which also includes payload processing, launch vehicle integration, mission-unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services, is worth around $82 million.