Following a 48 hour delay due to higher than allowed upper level winds and an issue with debonding of insulation on the first stage the United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg today carrying NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.
SMAP will provide a capability for global mapping of soil moisture and freeze/thaw state with unprecedented accuracy, resolution, and coverage. SMAP science objectives are to acquire space-based hydrosphere state measurements over a three-year period to:
- Understand processes that link the terrestrial water, energy and carbon cycles
- Estimate global water and energy fluxes at the land surface
- Quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes
- Enhance weather and climate forecast skill
- Develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities
For more information on the SMAP mission check out it’s main page here.
The images below were captured from the NASA Live Stream of the launch.