The sun sets behind Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission satellite is being prepared for liftoff. SMAP will provide a complete global measurement of soil moisture every two to three days and will also measure the soil's freeze/thaw state every two days at northern latitudes. Launch is scheduled for Jan. 29.
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.