SMAP Launch Week Begins

Launch of NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP observatory, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket remains on schedule. Liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is targeted for 9:20 a.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 29 at the opening of a 3-minute launch window.

The full launch team, spacecraft test team and mission managers conducted a launch countdown dress rehearsal on Friday, and the Flight Readiness Review that was held Thursday was completed with no major issues or concerns. The review also gave a “go” to proceed with loading the Delta II second stage with storable propellants. The oxidizer is being loaded aboard today and the fuel will follow on Monday. The final review before liftoff, the Launch Readiness Review, is scheduled for tomorrow.

The prelaunch news conference will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. EST and will be carried live on NASA Television. Launch countdown coverage on NASA TV begins Thursday at 7 a.m. EST.

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