NASA SMAP Launch 29 January 2015

Artist rendering of the NASA SMAP satellite
February 3, 2015

Note:  SMAP was successfully launched on 31 January and Ground Control can communicate with the satellite.  We look forward to exploring this new great data in 6 months or so.

NASA is scheduled to launch the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission on the morning of 29 January 2015 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.  This satellite will feature two microwave sensors; an active radar sensor with 1-3 km resolution and a passive sensor with 30 km resolution.  Combined these will produce global coverage every 1 to 3 days depending on latitude.

We should be able to access data products about 6 months after the launch.  These data will improve our understanding of the water cycle, global soil moisture, and climate studies.  Flood and Drought monitoring will be able to take advantage of the global coverage at high resolution to produce more accurate forecast. You can view the latest NASA JPL news at:

This will compliment the many other NASA earth observing missions that have been launched during this past very busy year!  Last summer they launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, followed by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission, and two missions to the International Space Station.  These are the ISS – RapidScat Scatterometer and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS).

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