The UK Space Agency invested in SWOT jointly with the NASA in USA, CNES in France and the Canadian Space Agency to enable the implementation and launch of this mission. SWOT will observe major lakes, rivers and wetlands while detecting ocean features with unprecedented resolution. SWOT data will provide critical information that is needed to assess water resources on land, track regional sea level changes, monitor coastal processes, and observe small-scale ocean currents and eddies.

  • Project aims

    SWOT’s objectives are:

    Provide high-resolution data on the transport of heat and carbon by the Earth’s oceans.

    Map ocean currents to benefit shipping and other marine activities.

    Support coastal operations affected by tides, currents, storm surges, sediment transport, and water quality issues.

    Help better manage fishing resources by producing improved data on properties of the oceans.

  • Data sharing

    The objectives of SWOT-UK are:

    To assemble a large dataset of quality-controlled ground-truth and satellite data of water level, slope and river discharge over the Bristol Channel/River Severn.

    To carry out a targeted airborne and shipborne surveys during SWOT’s 90-day daily repeat ‘cal-val’ mission phase to complement existing observations.

    To represent the UK within the international SWOT Science Team, interact with SWOT and the UKSA. To engage with key flood forecasting and coastal management stakeholders, and the wider UK community; to disseminate findings and quality-controlled datasets.

Space Agency collaboration

NASA logo CNES logo CSA logo UK Space Agency logo

Mission Orbit – ‘fast-sampling’ phase with a 1-day repeat orbit

The first 90 days of the SWOT science mission will be flown in a ‘fast-sampling’ phase, at an altitude of 857km (532.5 miles), that revisits specific areas once per day. The next phase will have a 21-day repeat orbit to balance global coverage and frequent sampling. SWOT’s 120-km (~75-mile) swath width will result in overlapping measurements over most of the globe with an average revisit time of 11 days.

More about the Mission