SMAP Reflector Boom Completes Design Review

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Northrop Grumman said Jan. 9 that its Astro Aerospace strategic business unit has completed the critical design review for the reflector boom assembly it is building for NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, now due to launch in late 2014.

Astro Aerospace conducted the critical design review Dec. 13-14. The Carpinteria, Calif.-based company was awarded a contract in 2009 to build SMAP’s reflector boom assembly, which will enable the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory-led mission to obtain global measurements of soil moisture every two to three days.

SMAP’s main instrument consists of an AstroMesh reflector and a single feed horn shared by an L-band radar and L-band radiometer and is design to produce a measurement swath of 1,000 kilometers. The entire reflector boom assembly is expected to weigh less than 65 kilograms, including launch restraint equipment.