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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Famous quotes containing the word history:
“The history of his present majesty, is a history of unremitting injuries and usurpations ... all of which have in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
“You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulas exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow, mathematical present.”
—Hermann Hesse (18771962)
“What is most interesting and valuable in it, however, is not the materials for the history of Pontiac, or Braddock, or the Northwest, which it furnishes; not the annals of the country, but the natural facts, or perennials, which are ever without date. When out of history the truth shall be extracted, it will have shed its dates like withered leaves.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)