The Delta II rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), satellite on a mission to measure and map the Earth's soil moisture distribution and freeze/thaw state with unprecedented accuracy. Liftoff was at 6:22 a.m. PST (9:22 a.m. EST).
The unfolded solar arrays to power SMAP and the golden feedhorn for its radar and radiometer are visible in this image taken during assembly and testing.
Credit: NASA, JPL.
In orbit graphic of SMAP satellite prior to third stage burn for orbit insertion and booster decoupling.