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ESA to launch SMOS in November

Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite. A file photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): ESA’s SMOS Earth Explorer will be launched on November 2, from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

According to the European Space Agency, the Antonov aircraft carrying the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite, along with seven containers of support equipment, arrived at Arkhangelsk. Once unloaded from the aircraft, the precious cargo will be sent to the launch site.

The SMOS team will spend the next six weeks testing the satellite and preparing for launch. SMOS will be encapsulated, along with ESA’s Proba-2 satellite, in the fairing of the Rocket launcher in preparation for liftoff at 02.50 CET (Central European Time) on 2 November.

The arrival of SMOS at the launch site marks a significant milestone for ESA’s next Earth Explorer mission. Also known as ESA’s Water Mission, it is the first satellite dedicated to providing global measurements of soil moisture and ocean salinity. By regularly and consistently mapping these two variables, the mission will improve our understanding of the water cycle, it said.

“I am really excited that the end is getting close, and so is the team,” ESA quoted Achim Hahne, ESA’s Project Manager for the SMOS mission, as saying.

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