NASA to launch “first of its kind” satellite

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NASA sign (Flickr / JD Hancock, July 2009/MGN Online)

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(WHNT)- In less than two hours, NASA is scheduled to launch a “first-of-its-kind” satellite.

The launch is set for 8:20 this morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
This satellite is going up on a delta two rocket made in Decatur. The rocket  is from United Launch Alliance.

This is ULA’s second of thirteen missions for NASA this year.

As for the satellite, it’s at the heart of NASA’s “soil moisture active passive mission” or “SMAP.”
Behind that acronym there’s some potentially life-saving information.

“SMAP” will map the entire globe every two to three days for at least three years.

The satellite will provide “high-resolution” measurements of soil moisture , frozen or thawed.
That will allow scientists to better predict natural hazards of extreme weather such as droughts and floods, which affect millions of people each year.

It will also help researchers better understand climate change.

The satellite will orbit the earth about once every 99-minutes.

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