Moog Supports ULA Delta II Launch with NASA Spacecraft for Enhanced Understanding of Weather and Climate
31 January 2015
Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B) Space and Defense Group provided propulsion control to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft that launched today from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carried aloft by a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. SMAP will use a combined radiometer and high-resolution radar to measure surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state, providing for scientific advances and societal benefits with a further understanding of weather and climate.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2015) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) payload for NASA lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at 6:22 a.m. PST today. The SMAP mission is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite mission designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state, data that have broad applications for science and society. Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance.
The United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle is equipped with an engine swing check valve and servovalves on its first stage to aid in engine control upon liftoff. Moog also supplies the second stage engine control pilot valve for the AJ-10 upper stage engine, which controls hydrazine to the main valve. The second stage of the Delta II guided the SMAP satellite into its injection orbit where it will perform propulsive maneuvers to reach its final, sun-synchronous orbit 426 miles (685 km) from Earth.
Moog delivered nine MONARC-5 thrusters and one qualification thruster to JPL. Thrusters were integrated onto SMAP and activated soon after separation from the Delta II second stage to de-tumble the spacecraft and initiate sun acquisition after solar array deployment. The MONARC-5 has a long heritage, dating back more than 30 years, with flight heritage on a range of commercial and exploration missions including Worldview, LCROSS and MMS. Nearly 600 MONARC-5 hydrazine monopropellant thrusters have been delivered and flown.
Moog fill and drain valves also contribute to the SMAP propulsion system. High reliability of the propulsion system is crucial to ensure correct positioning of the spacecraft.
SMAP will provide direct measurements of soil moisture and freeze/thaw state, which are needed to improve our understanding of regional water cycles, ecosystem productivity, and processes that link the water, energy, and carbon cycles. SMAP science measurements will be acquired for a period of three years. A comprehensive validation program will be used to assess the accuracies of the soil moisture and freeze/thaw estimates.
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