Sunset at Vandenberg
The sun sets behind Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission satellite is scheduled for launch on Thursday, Jan. 29. Image credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
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Managers from NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) met Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to assess the status of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket that will boost SMAP into space. At the conclusion of the Launch Vehicle Readiness Review, a poll was taken and a "go" given for launch from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 2 at 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST), the opening of a three-minute launch window, on Thursday, Jan. 29.

SMAP is managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington by the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with instrument hardware and science contributions made by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. JPL is responsible for project management, system engineering, radar instrumentation, mission operations and the ground data system. Goddard is responsible for the radiometer instrument. Both centers collaborate on science data processing and delivery to the Alaska Satellite Facility, in Fairbanks, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, at the University of Colorado in Boulder, for public distribution and archiving. NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.