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NASA to Launch Satellite for SMAP Mission

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Scheduled to launch on Friday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, NASA has once again pushed back the launch of its rocket, the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket to Saturday. The second postponement coming after the previous one is due to problems detected in the rocket’s booster insulation. The satellite launch is part of NASA’s mission to collect water data and improves its weather forecast, drought and climate change monitoring capability.

What is the purpose of NASA’s SMAP mission?

According to Jared Entin, the SMAP or Soil Moisture Active Passive mission’s project scientist, as part of its mission, the 2,000-pound satellite will aim its two instruments in the direction of the Earth’s surface and will emit microwave signal so that soil data thus collected will enable scientists to come up with information about the moisture content in the top soil of the earth in addition to calculations about the levels of water. The satellite will work from an elevation of about four hundred and twenty-six miles and will be covering the entire Earth’s surface in maximum three days. Throughout the duration, it will offer resolution coverage of about six miles. Elaborating further, the project scientist said, “What we’re measuring is the dip in the energy coming back from Earth in this spectrum,” and the weaker the energy level, the more is the water content, claims the scientist.

NASA to release information to agencies, planners and forecasters

Even though the mission will take over a year to collect, analyze and verify the data send by the craft, NASA  has made known that it plans to make public information within some months to agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations World Food Program in addition to forecasters.