Spaceflight Insider

Launch of SMAP slips to NET Jan. 31


Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA

Citing repairs that are needed to the Delta II 7320 launch vehicle, United Launch Alliance (ULA ) has opted to delay the launch an additional 24 hours. The launch window will now open no earlier than (NET) 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST) on Jan. 31, 2015. The launch site is Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 2. The payload for this mission is NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft.

ULA attempted to get the mission underway on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 6:20 a.m. EST; however, upper level winds forced the launch team to push the attempt to the end of the three minute launch window. The weather did not cooperate and ULA opted to scrub for 24 hours. A review of the launch vehicle noted that some repairs were necessary, thus forcing this latest delay. ULA noted the problems as follows:

During inspections following the Jan. 29 launch attempt, minor debonds to the booster insulation were identified. These insulation debonds are associated with cryogenic conditions experienced during tanking operations and a standard repair will be implemented.


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Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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