NEW DELHI: Nasa‘s PACE spacecraft is set to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Tuesday at 1.33 am EST (12.03 pm IST).
PACE, which is short for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem, aims to map the colors of the ocean and help scientists gauge the health of oceans.
According to, the Falcon 9 rocket will deliver PACE to an orbit of 420 miles (677 kilometers) above Earth, which is approximately 70% higher than where the International Space Station orbits.
PACE spacecraft is armed with “three science instruments the Ocean Color Instrument, Spectro-polarimeter for Planetary Exploration, and the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter No.2 to collect data on clouds, aerosols and phytoplankton growth that can determine ocean color,” Nasa officials wrote in a mission update on Thursday.
“Measuring the color and amount of light will help scientists better understand the types and locations of microscopic algae, which are vital to the health of Earth’s oceans and its marine life,” they added.
“PACE will contribute to Nasa’s more than 20 years of global satellite observations of ocean biology and key measurements related to air quality and climate,” reported
The 10.5-foot-long (3.2-meter-long) PACE will carry out its mission for a minimum of three years, assuming all goes as planned.
The PACE mission faced challenges on its journey to launch. The Trump administration attempted to cancel it three times in budget proposals for fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020. However, Congress approved funding each time, ensuring PACE’s survival.
In 2014, Nasa set a total cost cap of $805 million for PACE, including the launch vehicle with a liftoff targeted for 2022. However, the project’s expenses have increased to $948 million, as per Florida Today reports.
SpaceX plans to launch a total of 144 missions in 2024, as company representatives have announced. PACE’s launch contributes to a busy year for SpaceX, which set a record with 10 orbital missions in January, as highlighted by Elon Musk.
(With input from agencies)

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