NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft will be boosted into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Learn how SMAP and the Delta II were readied for liftoff.
Weather forecasters from the U.S. Air Force 30th Weather Squadron are predicting an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch of NASA’s SMAP observatory aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. 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.
Today at Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 2, United Launch Alliance technicians finished loading storable propellants into the tanks of the Delta II second stage. Last Friday, the oxidizer was loaded aboard and today the hydrazine was loaded into the second stage fuel tank. The launch Readiness Review will be held this morning. All prelaunch preparations are on schedule and there are no significant issues being worked by the launch team.
The prelaunch news conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday afternoon.
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.
Go to the Mission Quiz app, select SMAP from the “Featured” list, and get started. Along with each question, there’s a “Research” button to help you find the answer if you need a little extra help.
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft has been attached to the top of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket that will deliver it to orbit. Preparations for the Jan. 29 launch are on schedule at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Payload carriers containing small satellites called CubeSats are being attached to the rocket’s second stage today. The next major milestone is encapsulation of the spacecraft inside the protective payload fairing, scheduled for Jan. 20.
The SMAP mission is designed to study moisture locked in Earth’s soil and help scientists better understand the planet’s water and carbon cycles, which could in turn lead to improved weather modeling and resource management. The Delta II rocket will launch the observatory into a polar orbit from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 2.