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Delta II Launch Success
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket successfully launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex-2, Jan. 31, 2015 at 6:22 a.m. PDT. This Delta II rocket carried NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive; the first Earth observing satellite. SMAP is designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. High resolution space-based measurements of soil moisture and whether the soil is frozen or thawed will give scientists a new capability to observe and predict natural hazards of extreme weather, climate change, floods and droughts, and will help reduce uncertainties in the understanding of Earth's water and carbon cycles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson)

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Photo by: Michael Peterson |  VIRIN: 150131-F-IN231-001.JPG