August 13, 2013
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden checked on the progress today of two Earth missions being built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for launch in 2014. Technicians in JPL's historic Spacecraft Assembly Facility clean room are assembling NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft, which will produce global maps of soil moisture for tracking water availability around our planet, and ISS-RapidScat, a scatterometer instrument that will be mounted outside the International Space Station to measure ocean surface wind speeds and directions. Bolden was accompanied by JPL Director Charles Elachi and members of the Earth science projects during the tour of the clean room, and members of the news media were also present.
SMAP is scheduled to launch in October 2014. ISS-RapidScat is scheduled to launch in April 2014. A third JPL Earth mission, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), is scheduled to launch in July 2014 and is currently in final assembly and testing at an Orbital Sciences Corp. facility in Gilbert, Ariz. OCO-2 will be NASA's first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.
For more on SMAP, visit: http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov/ .
For more on ISS-RapidScat, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/ISSRapidScat.html and http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/.
For more on OCO-2, visit: http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/ .
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Alan Buis/Jia-Rui Cook 818-354-0474/4-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.