SMAP Observatory in Excellent Health

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft is in excellent health, Kent Kellogg, the SMAP project manager, announced during a post-launch press conference.

“All subsystems are being powered on and checked out as planned,” he said. “Communications, guidance and control, computers and power are all operating nominally.”

The observatory’s instruments won’t be turned on until 11 days after launch, in keeping with the mission’s timeline.

SMAP was boosted into Earth orbit at 9:22 a.m. EST by a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket after liftoff from Space Launch Complex 2 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The ELaNa X auxiliary payload that flew aboard the Delta II also was deployed on time.

“All four ELaNa CubeSats were ejected from the second stage per the mission timeline, and are flying free,” said Scott Higginbotham, NASA ELaNa X mission manager from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

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