US space agency NASA on Saturday successfully launched a new Earth-observing satellite that would provide the scientists with high- resolution maps of our planet’s soil, suggesting how much moisture lies in it.
The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory kicked off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 6:22 am (local time), according to a statement released by NASA.
In a statement released about an hour after launch, Tim Dunn, launch manager for NASA, said, “We’re in contact with SMAP and everything looks good right now. Deployment of the solar arrays is underway. We just couldn’t be happier.”
The NASA mission aims to offer the world scientists with better data about Earth’s soil in an attempt to improvise the climate forecasts and prediction about natural calamities such as droughts and floods, thereby benefiting the farmers to a greater extent.
Detailing more upon the advantages of the mission, the NASA scientists said that the high-resolution maps sent by the satellite back on Earth would help in better preparing against the natural disasters in advance. The high-resolution maps will also offer better tools to the scientists to forecast how forests and crops will change in accordance with the warming of planet.
Amazed by the successful launch, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said, “The launch of SMAP completes an ambitious 11-month period for NASA that has seen the launch of five new Earth-observing space missions to help us better understand our changing planet.”
The SMAP observatory was originally set for launch on Friday (January 29). But due to the high winds force and unfavorable weather conditions, mission controllers were forced to postpone takeoff for a day.