NASA set for launch of new earth observing mission

Sunday, January 18, 2015
NASA SMAP will lift off from Space  [PHOTO: NASA]
Washington: NASA is preparing for a launch of the first U.S. Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture.

In its ambitious mission due to launch on January 29, the agency’s Soil Moisture Active Passive mission (SMAP) will lift off from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:20 a.m. EST (6:20 a.m. PST) on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

In addition to launch coverage, NASA also will host a series of prelaunch news conferences on January 27, at Vandenberg. All briefings, which are subject to change in time, will air live on NASA TV and the agency's website.

NASA's next mission to study Earth is a soil moisture mapper know as SMAP [PHOTO: NASA]
SMAP will provide high resolution, space-based measurements of soil moisture and its state -- frozen or thawed -- a new capability that will allow scientists to better predict natural hazards of extreme weather, climate change, floods and droughts, and help reduce uncertainties in our understanding of Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

The mission will map the entire globe every two to three days for at least three years and provide the most accurate and highest-resolution maps of soil moisture ever obtained. The spacecraft's final circular polar orbit will be 426 miles (685 kilometers), at an inclination of 98.1 degrees. The spacecraft will orbit the Earth once every 98.5 minutes and repeat the same ground track every eight days.

New Satellite data will help farmers facing drought [PHOTO: NASA]
During the first news conference participants will discuss the latest information on the mission and launch status. Immediately following the prelaunch news conference will be a discussion of the CubeSat auxiliary payloads aboard the rocket.
Next Post »