Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

SpaceX Wins NASA Global Warming Observation Mission

By Rich Smith - Feb 5, 2020 at 12:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

PACE satellite will monitor "oceanographic and atmospheric responses to Earth’s changing climate."

Three years ago, one of the first policy proposals of a newly formed Trump Administration was to cut spending by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Earth science missions engaged in "climate change research." The Administration's 2018 budget submitted to Congress proposed eliminating some $250 million in climate change research.

Congress moved quickly to restore these funds to the budget, however, and now one of the missions, that was destined to fall to the budgetary axe, is going to soar into space instead -- atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket.

NASA logo

Image source: NASA.

The mission in question, dubbed Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem, or PACE, aims to collect "global ocean color, cloud, and aerosol data that will provide unprecedented insights into oceanographic and atmospheric responses to Earth's changing climate."  

Practically speaking, the space agency notes that "PACE's data will help us better understand how the ocean and atmosphere exchange carbon dioxide." In other applications, PACE could also "help identify the extent and duration of harmful algal blooms," such as have devastated Chilean salmon harvests repeatedly in recent years, damaging profits at fish companies and raising prices for restaurateurs.  

Meanwhile for SpaceX, winning the PACE launch contract is further evidence that the space company's launch prices, costing as little as $62 million for most missions -- and even as little as $50 million for some (government-sponsored missions, with attendant red tape, tend to cost more) -- are getting very hard for incumbent space providers such as United Launch Alliance to beat.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/16/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.