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LAUNCH PAD
NASA TV Coverage Reset for Launch of Newest Earth-Observing Mission
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 30, 2015


NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory awaits launch on top of its Delta II rocket at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mobile tower used to service the rocket has been rolled back in preparation for launch, scheduled for 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST), Jan. 29. Image courtesy NASA/Bill Ingalls. For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission (SMAP) launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, now is scheduled for 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST) Friday, Jan. 30, with a three-minute launch window. The launch of the United Launch Alliance/Delta II rocket was scrubbed Thursday due to a violation of upper-level wind constraints. Launch managers have initiated a 24-hour recycle. The weather forecast for this launch window shows a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions.

NASA Television coverage of the launch Friday will begin at 4 a.m. PST.

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 Earth once every 98.5 minutes and repeat the same ground track every eight days.

For an updated schedule of prelaunch events and NASA TV coverage, visit here.

For in-depth prelaunch, countdown and launch day coverage of the liftoff of SMAP aboard the Delta II rocket, go here.


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