SMAP Earth Mission Launch No Earlier than Saturday

The launch of NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, which will produce the highest-resolution maps of soil moisture ever obtained from space, has been delayed to a targeted launch date of Jan. 31, pending completion of minor repairs to the United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle. During inspections following the Jan. 29 launch attempt, minor “debonds” to the booster insulation were identified; a standard repair is being implemented. A launch attempt on Jan. 31 would take place at 9:20 a.m. EST.

ULA Delta II rocket with SMAP mission.
The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory onboard is seen as the mobile service tower is moved back to help workers service the rocket at Space Launch Complex 2, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)