Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity Satellite - History

History

The project was proposed in November 1998; in 2004 the project passed ESA-phase "C/D" and, after several delays, it was launched on 2 November 2009 from Plesetsk Cosmodrome on a Rockot rocket. The first data from the MIRAS (Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis) instrument was received on 20 November 2009. The SMOS programme cost is about €315 million ($465 million; £280 million). It is led by ESA but with significant input from French and Spanish interests.

The satellite is part of ESA's Earth Explorer programme – eight spacecraft that will do innovative science in obtaining data on issues of pressing environmental concern. The first is already in orbit – a mission called GOCE, which is mapping variations in the pull of gravity across the Earth's surface. SMOS is the second Explorer to launch; and a third spacecraft, known as CryoSat-2 (the first CryoSat failed on launch), was launched on 8 April 2010. CryoSat will assess the state of the world's ice cover.

Read more about this topic:  Soil Moisture And Ocean Salinity Satellite

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