NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft is lowered onto the Delta II payload attach structure in the Astrotech payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in preparation for launch, which will take place no sooner than Jan. 29. The structure will secure the spacecraft to the rocket's second stage. SMAP will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state that are expected to enhance understanding of processes that link Earth's basic cycles of water, energy and carbon; to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models; and to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities.
SMAP is managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington by JPL with participation by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. JPL is responsible for project management, system engineering, instrument management, the radar instrument, mission operations and the ground data system. Goddard is responsible for the radiometer instrument. Both centers collaborate on the science data processing and delivery of science data products to the Alaska Satellite Facility and the National Snow and Ice Data Center for public distribution and archiving. NASA's Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
For more information about SMAP, visit http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov.