CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC of Englewood, Colo., to launch the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) and Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) spacecraft. The spacecraft will launch in October 2014, July 2014 and November 2016, respectively, aboard Delta II rockets from Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
NASA also has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Jason-3 spacecraft in December 2014 aboard a Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket from Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The total value of the ULA award for the SMAP, OCO-2 and JPSS-1 launch services is approximately $412 million. This estimated cost includes the task-ordered launch service for the Delta II plus additional services under other contracts for payload processing, launch vehicle integration, mission-unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services.
The total value of the SpaceX award for Jason-3 launch service is approximately $82 million. This estimated cost includes the task ordered launch service for the Falcon 9 v1.0, plus additional services under other contracts for payload processing, launch vehicle integration, mission-unique launch site ground support and tracking, data and telemetry services.
About the Spacecraft
SMAP will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze-thaw state. These measurements will enhance understanding of processes that link Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles. SMAP will extend current capabilities in weather and climate prediction. SMAP data will be used to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities. SMAP is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
OCO-2 will study and make time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It will provide the first complete picture of human and natural carbon dioxide sources and “sinks,” the places where the gas is pulled out of the atmosphere and stored. The observatory’s high-resolution measurements will help scientists better understand the processes that regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide. The OCO-2 project is managed by JPL.
JPSS-1 is the successor to the Suomi-National Polar Partnership (NPP) spacecraft, which was launched in October 2011 as a joint mission between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the JPSS Program. The JPSS Program is the former National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Program. The JPSS system includes the satellite’s sensors and ground system supporting civil weather, climate measurements and data sharing with other U.S. agencies and international partners.
JPSS-1 will make afternoon observations as it orbits Earth, providing continuity of critical data and imagery observations for accurate weather forecasting, reliable severe storm outlooks and global measurements of atmospheric and oceanic conditions such as sea surface temperatures and ozone. JPSS-1 will increase the timeliness, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of public warnings and forecasts of weather, climate and other environmental events, reducing the potential loss of human life and property.
Jason-3 is an operational ocean altimetry mission designed to measure precisely sea surface height to monitor ocean circulation and sea level. Jason-3 will follow in the tradition of previous missions such as TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2. The Jason-3 mission will be developed and operated as part of an international effort led by NOAA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites in collaboration with NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.
Processed data from the satellite will be used in a broad range of applications including operational ocean and weather forecasting, ocean wave modeling, hurricane intensification prediction, seasonal forecasting, El Nino and La Nina forecasting and climate research. The data will help address questions about global climate change.
NOAA is responsible for the JPSS Program and the JPSS-1 and Jason-3 missions. NASA is the program’s procurement agent. The agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is the lead for acquisition.
NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for launch vehicle program management of the SMAP, OCO-2, JPSS-1, and Jason-3 launch services.