SMAP Launch (29/1/2015)

From: Jon . via Seesat-l <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 23:11:03 +0100
SMAP (Soil Mosture Active Passive) is scheduled to launch the 29 of january
of 2015 at 14:20:42 UTC atop maybe the final Delta II rocket (pending to
maybe 2 more missions more, still awaiting confirmation) from SLC-2W pad on
Vandenberg AFB (34.7545, -120.62 WGS84).
It will measure the soil mosture on a two or three year mission.

The following rough elset is void till T+56 min. 50.5 seconds, when
satellite deploy is expected and only if launch occurs at the start of
launch window (see the above time):

SMAP estimation                                          669 X 684 km
1 70000U 15500A   15029.65107060 0.00000000  00000-0  00000+0 0    02
2 70000  98.1160  38.3714 0011000 159.0288 245.3072 14.64153000    02

It should be enough accurate to be able to track it till the first elset
from JSpOC is published. I would allow it about 4 minutes in time and 5
degrees in high elevation sky error per day after epoch.

As you can see the elset is sun syncronous, with a node precession of about
0.9863ยบ/day. The eccentricy and mean motion has been derived from the
apogee/perigee data available at the press kit. Also, the target RAAN is
near the terminator (6 am. descending node), so if launch occurs at
expected time the spacecraft should not suffer Earth's eclipse meanwhile is
In case of a launch at other time, I suspect that the spacecraft could wait
in a lower orbit till reach the correct RAAN some weeks after.
This conbination will allow good visibility patterns during all the year in
all places on the word at sunset on low elevation skyes on the west. The
satellite is expected to be rotating itself, so it maybe can make some nice
flashes too but maybe only when it becomes operational, about 90 days after

For radio amateurs, SMAP plans to send the data via the TDRSS
Geo-satellites, but also it will transmit in X-band and S-band directly to
ground stations.

The press kit can be found here:

More info about SMAP can be found here:

For people who is not familiar with TLEs, I will ask Simone Corbellini if
he could upload the elset to his online tracker. In this case, I will
publish the link in another message to the mailist.
Also, in case of delay I will publish updated orbits.

Please let me know any questions/corrections/suggestions.

Be good & good hunting!


Jon Mikel, COSPAR 6242, 42.9453, -2.82839, 623m, Bitoriano, Basque Country.
Seesat-l mailing list
Received on Tue Jan 27 2015 - 16:11:33 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Tue Jan 27 2015 - 22:11:33 UTC