Shown here are photos of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft prior to launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Also included is an artist illustration of SMAP in orbit. These photos and images were originally published on NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory's planetary Photojournal website (photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov), and are formatted here for use on the Hyperwall.
SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite mission designed to collect continuous global observations of surface soil moisture and freeze/thaw state every 2-3 days at 3 to 40 kilometer (~2 to 25 mile) spatial resolution. As suggested by the name “Active Passive,” SMAP will carry an active microwave radar and a passive microwave radiometer that will measure across a 1000-kilometer (~621-mile) wide swath.
SMAP is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II 7320-10C on January 29, 2015. The spacecraft will be placed in a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit 685 kilometers (~425 miles) above Earth, crossing the equator at both 6:00 AM (descending node) and 6:00 PM (ascending node).
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