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Delta 2 launches SMAP
Posted: Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 1:03 PM ET (1803 GMT)
Delta 2 launch of SMAP (NASA) A Delta 2 rocket successfully placed a NASA Earth sciences satellite into orbit Saturday morning. The Delta 2 7320 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 6:22 am PST (9:22 am EST, 14022 GMT) Saturday. Its primary payload, the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, separated from the rocket's upper stage nearly one hour later, entering a sun-synchronous orbit. The launch was scheduled for Thursday but postposed by gusty upper-level winds, and a Friday attempt was delayed to make minor repairs to the rocket. Upper-levels winds were also high Saturday morning, but subsided in time for the launch. The Delta 2 also deployed four CubeSat-class satellites after the release of SMAP. The SMAP spacecraft is designed to provide global measurements of soil measure for weather, climate, and related Earth science applications.
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