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SMAP Briefings and Events
January 30, 2015


NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive mission (SMAP) launch was scrubbed today due to completion of minor repairs to the United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle. During inspections following the Jan. 29 launch attempt, minor “debonds” to the booster insulation were identified; a standard repair is being implemented.  Launch attempt is for Saturday, Jan. 31, at 6:20 a.m. PST at the opening of a three-minute launch window. NASA Television coverage will begin at 7 a.m.

SMAP is the first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state.  High resolution space-based measurements of soil moisture and whether the soil is frozen or thawed will give scientists a new capability to better predict natural hazards of extreme weather, climate change, floods and droughts, and will help reduce uncertainties in our understanding of Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles.

The mission will provide the most accurate and highest-resolution maps of soil moisture ever obtained, mapping the globe every two to three days from space for a least three years.  The spacecraft’s final circular polar orbit will be 426 miles (685 kilometers) at an inclination of 98.1 degrees. The spacecraft will orbit the Earth once every 98.5 minutes and repeats the same ground track every eight days.


News media desiring accreditation for the prelaunch and launch activities for SMAP should contact:

Tech Sgt Tyrona Lawson
30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California 93437
Telephone: 805-606-3595
Fax: 805-606-4571
Email: tyrona.lawson@us.af.mil

Information required for U.S. media is full legal name, date of birth and media affiliation.  A legal photo identification will be required upon arrival at Vandenberg. The deadline for U.S. media to apply for accreditation is Jan. 26.

Friday, Jan. 30:  Media covering the SMAP launch aboard the Delta II rocket should meet at 5 a.m. at the Vandenberg main gate located on California State Road 1 to be escorted to the press viewing site. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required for access. A driver's license alone will not be sufficient.

For photographers, the launch azimuth after liftoff will be 196 degrees.

After launch, media will be escorted back to the main gate. Media interested in participating in the SMAP post-launch news conference should meet at south Vandenberg gate on California State Road 246 at 8:30 a.m. and will be escorted to NASA Building 840. Observatory and mission officials will provide the spacecraft status and discuss its state of health, as well as the status of the three ELaNa CubeSats. The event will begin at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) and will be carried live on NASA Television.

On launch day, Jan. 30, NASA TV launch commentary coverage of the countdown will begin at 4 a.m. PST (7 a.m. EST).  Launch is targeted for 6:20:42 a.m. PST (9:20:42 a.m. EST).  The launch window is three minutes in duration. Spacecraft separation from the rocket occurs 56 minutes, 52 seconds after launch.

The post-launch news conference also will be covered on NASA Television starting at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST).

For information on receiving NASA TV, go to:



Audio only of the press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240,   -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 3 a.m. PST (6 a.m. EST). Coverage of the ELaNa CubeSat spacecraft separation events also will be carried on 867-7135, which occurs beginning 48 minutes after SMAP separates from the Delta II.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

For extensive prelaunch, countdown and launch day coverage of the liftoff of SMAP aboard the Delta II rocket, go to:


A prelaunch webcast for the SMAP mission will be streamed on NASA’s website at noon PST (3 p.m. EST) on Wednesday, Jan. 28. To view the webcast and the countdown blog or to learn more about the SMAP mission, visit:



Join the conversation online and follow the SMAP mission on Twitter at:


Throughout the launch countdown, the NASA Launch Services Program and NASA JPL Twitter and Facebook accounts will be continuously updated at:






Live countdown coverage on NASA’s launch blog begins at 4 a.m. PST (7 a.m. EST).  Coverage features real-time updates of countdown milestones, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Nancy Bray at 321-867-9112.


The SMAP and Delta II News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will open Monday, Jan. 26. To speak with a NASA communications specialist, call 805-605-3051 beginning at that time.  A recorded launch status report also will be available by dialing 805-734-2693.

JPL is responsible for SMAP project management and mission operations. JPL also built the observatory and its radar instrument. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is responsible for the SMAP radiometer instrument and associated science. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is NASA’s launch service provider of the Delta II rocket.

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Artist’s rendering of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft in orbit.
Artist’s rendering of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft in orbit.
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Page Last Updated: January 30th, 2015
Page Editor: Steven Siceloff