Northrop Grumman has installed its AstroMesh Reflector on NASA‘s Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite ahead of SMAP’s launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in January.
The company said Friday it designed the mesh reflector to aid SMAP in its mission to measure soil moisture, collect freeze and thaw data and support weather and climate prediction and drought monitoring.
Geoff Marks, chief technologist at Northrop’s Astro Aerospace business, said AstroMesh Reflector weighs 56 pounds.
The reflector system includes a stiff boom to deploy the reflector, which spins at almost 15 revolutions per minute and expands to a 19-foot aperture to provide a 40-degree conically scanning antenna beam as SMAP performs global mapping every three days, Northrop said.
SMAP will provide soil moisture data to NASA over a period of three years.