In the historic cleanroom at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (left) learns about the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft’s radar instrument assembly from Wayne Lee, a flight system engineer from JPL (right). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Two Earth missions are being built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for launch in 2014. Technicians in JPL’s historic Spacecraft Assembly Facility cleanroom 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.
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. These three missions have been dubbed the “Year of Earth” because they will observe our planet and report back on things like climate change.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Release Date: August 13, 2013