Boeing to build spin mechanism for NASA spacecraft

  • 05-Aug-2009 04:41 EDT
214719main_SMAP_FIG3.jpg
The Soil Moisture Active and Passive observatory will use a combined radiometer and high-resolution radar to measure surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) awarded Boeing a contract to provide a spin mechanism for the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) observatory, which seeks to help scientists understand the effects of global warming on water systems and crop yields. The spin mechanism will enable the spacecraft's sensor to rotate smoothly and continuously as it scans the Earth's surface. The SMAP spacecraft will provide moisture conditions in the top layer of the Earth's surface to extend the capabilities of weather climate and prediction models. SMAP data also will be used to measure the uptake and release of carbon in forested regions and to improve flood prediction and drought monitoring. The JPL expects to launch the observatory between 2010 and 2013.
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