8:15 a.m. local (11:15 a.m. EST)
"Congratulations to the NASA Launch Services Program team, JPL and all of our mission partners on today's successful launch of the SMAP satellite," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs.

"It is our honor to launch this important Earth science mission to help scientists observe and predict natural hazards, and improve our understanding of Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles."

8:10 a.m. local (11:10 a.m. EST)
EXOCUBE DEPLOY! ExoCube, a space weather satellite developed by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
8:08 a.m. local (11:08 a.m. EST)
GRIFEX DEPLOY! The GEO-CAPE ROIC In-Flight Performance Experiment (GRIFEX), is a technology validation mission developed by the University of Michigan’s Michigan Exploration Laboratory in partnership with NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
8:07 a.m. local (11:07 a.m. EST)
FIREBIRD DEPLOY! Focused Investigations of Relativistic Electron Burst Intensity, Range, and Dynamics II (FIREBIRD-II A and B), another space weather project, was developed by the University of New Hampshire, Montana State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Aerospace Corporation.
8:02 a.m. local (11:02 a.m. EST)
SECO 3. The second stage has performed another burn, albeit very short, to remove itself from the vicinity of the SMAP spacecraft and prepare for deployment of the cubesat secondary payloads.
7:30 a.m. local (10:30 a.m. EST)
This is the 98th consecutive successful Delta 2 rocket launch dating back to May 1997. The Delta 2's overall history since debuting in 1989 has achieved 151 successes in 153 flights.
7:20 a.m. local (10:20 a.m. EST)
The solar panels on the SMAP spacecraft are being unfolded.
7:19 a.m. local (10:19 a.m. EST)
NASA reports ground controllers are receiving data from the SMAP spacecraft through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.
7:18 a.m. local (10:18 a.m. EST)
T+plus 56 minutes, 58 seconds. SPACECRAFT SEPARATION! The Soil Moisture Active Passive observatory has been released from the Delta 2 rocket's second stage, completing the primary objective of today's launch!
7:16 a.m. local (10:16 a.m. EST)
T+plus 54 minutes. The rocket is repositioning itself to the proper orientation for release of SMAP. Altitude 369 miles.
7:14 a.m. local (10:14 a.m. EST)
T+plus 52 seconds. SECO 2. The Delta rocket has completed the 12-second restart of the second stage engine to put SMAP into the planned orbit.
7:07 a.m. local (10:07 a.m. EST)
T+plus 45 minutes. The official liftoff time was 6:22:00.1 a.m.
7:07 a.m. local (10:07 a.m. EST)
T+plus 38 minutes. As the rocket coasts in this parking orbit, it performs a "BBQ roll" maneuver to keep the thermal conditions on the vehicle equal.
6:59 a.m. local (9:59 a.m. EST)
T+plus 37 minutes. Passing an altitude of 200 miles.
6:52 a.m. local (9:52 a.m. EST)
T+plus 30 minutes. Live telemetry continues to be received via NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. Today's launch is the seventh Delta 2 flight to use TDRS during the long mission instead of ordering support from mobile telemetry assets and faraway ground sites after the rocket passes out of view from Vandenberg.
6:43 a.m. local (9:43 a.m. EST)
T+plus 21 minutes, 50 seconds. The vehicle is 128.3 nautical miles in altitude, 3,536.4 nautical miles downrange from the launch pad and traveling at 16,850 mph.
6:36 a.m. local (6:36 a.m. EST; 1436 GMT)
T+plus 14 minutes. The preliminary parking orbit achieved by the Delta 2 rocket is right on the planned mark.
6:31 a.m. local (9:31 a.m. EST)
T+plus 10 minutes, 43 seconds. SECO 1 has been confirmed. The second stage's Aerojet Rocketdyne-made engine completed its initial burn for the launch. Delta and SMAP have reached orbit.
6:31 a.m. local (9:31 a.m. EST; 1431 GMT)
T+plus 9 minutes, 43 seconds. One minute left in the first burn of the second stage's AJ10 rocket engine.
6:31 a.m. local (9:31 a.m. EST; 1431 GMT)
T+plus 9 minutes. No problems reported so far in the launch of SMAP aboard a Delta 2 rocket.
6:29 a.m. local (9:29 a.m. EST; 1429 GMT)
T+plus 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Second stage looking good as this initial burn up gets underway.
6:29 a.m. local (9:29 a.m. EST: 1429 GMT)
T+plus 7 minutes. Second stage engine control and chamber pressure reported to be good.
6:26 a.m. local (9:26 a.m. EST; 1426 GMT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 51 seconds. The rocket's nose cone enclosing the satellite payload has been jettisoned.
6:26 a.m. local (9:26 a.m. EST; 1426 GMT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 44 seconds. The Delta's second stage has ignited! The engine is up and running.
6:26 a.m. local (9:26 a.m. EST; 1426 GMT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 39 seconds. MECO. The first stage main engine cutoff is confirmed and the spent stage has been jettisoned.
6:25 a.m. local (9:25 a.m. EST; 1425 GMT)
T+plus 3 minutes, 35 seconds. The Delta 2 is now passing a speed of Mach 10.
6:25 a.m. local (9:25 a.m. EST; 1425 GMT)
T+plus 3 minutes. The first stage main engine still firing well. The Aerojet Rocketdyne powerplant consumes kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen to produce about 237,000 pounds of thrust.
6:24 a.m. local (9:24 a.m. EST; 1424 GMT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 41 seconds. Delta now traveling at Mach 5.
6:24 a.m. local (9:24 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT)
T+plus 2 minutes. Delta now weighs half of what it did at liftoff two minutes ago.
6:23 a.m. local (9:23 a.m. EST; 1423 GMT)
T+plus 1 minute, 50 seconds. The ATK-made solid rocket boosters have jettisoned from the first stage. They remained attached until the rocket cleared off-shore oil rigs.
6:23 a.m. local (9:23 a.m. EST; 1423 GMT)
T+plus 1 minute, 6 seconds. All three ground-start solid rocket boosters have burned out. The Delta 2's first stage RS-27A main engine is providing the sole thrust for the next couple of minutes.
6:22 a.m. local (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT)
T+plus 50 seconds. The rocket has flown through the area of maximum aerodynamic pressure in the lower atmosphere.
6:22 a.m. local (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT)
T+plus 36 seconds. Delta has broken the sound barrier, rapidly accelerating on the power of its first stage main engine and the three ground-lit strap-on solid-fuel boosters.
6:22 a.m. local (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT)
T+plus 15 seconds. The launch vehicle is departing Vandenberg Air Force Base, heading south for the trek downrange over the Pacific carrying the SMAP spacecraft.
6:22 a.m. local (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the Delta 2 rocket with SMAP, measuring soil moisture from space for society and science!
6:21 a.m. local (9:21 a.m. EST; 1421 GMT)
T-minus 30 seconds. SRB ignitors will be armed at T-minus 11 seconds.

The launch ignition sequence will begin at T-minus 2 seconds when a launch team member triggers the engine start switch. The process begins with ignition of the two vernier thrusters and first stage main engine start. The three ground-lit solid rocket motors then light at T-0 for liftoff.
6:21 a.m. local (9:21 a.m. EST; 1421 GMT)
T-minus 1 minute. All remains "go" for launch.
6:20 a.m. local (9:20 a.m. EST; 1420 GMT)
T-minus 80 seconds. First stage liquid oxygen topping to 100 percent is underway.
6:20 a.m. local (9:20 a.m. EST; 1420 GMT)
T-minus 1 minute, 45 seconds. The launch pad water suppression system is being activated.
6:20 a.m. local (9:20 a.m. EST; 1420 GMT)
T-minus 2 minutes. The first stage liquid oxygen vents are now being closed so the LOX tank can be pressurized for launch. Puffs of vapor from a relief valve on the rocket will be seen in the remainder of the countdown as the tank pressure stabilizes.
6:19 a.m. local (9:19 a.m. EST; 1419 GMT)
T-minus 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The SMAP payload has been declared "go" for launch.
6:19 a.m. local (9:19 a.m. EST; 1419 GMT)
T-minus 2 minutes, 45 seconds. Vehicle ordnance is being armed.
6:19 a.m. local (9:19 a.m. EST; 1419 GMT)
T-minus 3 minutes and counting down to the Delta rocket launch dedicated to deploying the SMAP spacecraft to map soil moisture from space.
6:18 a.m. local (9:18 a.m. EST; 1418 GMT)
T-minus 3 minutes, 45 seconds and counting. The Delta 2 rocket's systems are now transferring to internal power for launch. And the launch pad water system is being enabled.
6:18 a.m. local (9:18 a.m. EST; 1418 GMT)
T-minus 4 minutes and counting! Clocks are ticking down the final moments for liftoff of Delta 370 with the SMAP spacecraft. Launch is set for 6:22 a.m. local time from California's Central Coast.
6:17 a.m. local (9:17 a.m. EST; 1417 GMT)
Now five minutes from launch! The "go" has been given for release of the hold in one minute.

Officials report the SMAP spacecraft is configured for launch.

6:15 a.m. local (9:15 a.m. EST; 1415 GMT)
All systems are "go" for an on-time launch today! The ULA launch director has given his permission to resume the count.
6:14 a.m. local (9:14 a.m. EST; 1414 GMT)
The launch team is being polled for the final time before liftoff to confirm systems are ready for the Delta 2 rocket and SMAP spacecraft.
6:13 a.m. local (9:13 a.m. EST; 1413 GMT)
Upper level winds are now green!
6:12 a.m. local (9:12 a.m. EST; 1412 GMT)
Now 10 minutes to go. The rocket's launch opportunity today is three minutes and zero seconds long beginning at exactly 6:20:42 a.m. local. The liftoff is now targeted to occur at 6:22 a.m. local to give the launch team more time to analyze weather balloon data on upper level winds.

The launch window is dictated by the SMAP satellite mounted atop the 12-story booster, and launching at the time ensures optimum insertion of the payload into the desired orbit from the Vandenberg Air Force Base pad.

6:09 a.m. local (9:09 a.m. EST; 1409 GMT)
NASA launch director Tim Dunn has polled his advisory team and the space agency is "go" to continue with the countdown.

The launch team is still monitoring upper level winds. The conditions are still "red" but additional weather balloon data could clear the Delta 2 rocket for liftoff.

6:06 a.m. local (9:06 a.m. EST; 1406 GMT)
T-minus 4 minutes and holding. The countdown has entered the final planned built-in hold. This is a scheduled 10-minute pause leading to today's liftoff time of 6:22 a.m. PST (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT) for the Delta 2 rocket.

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6:04 a.m. local (9:04 a.m. EST; 1404 GMT)
New launch time! Liftoff of the Delta 2 rocket has been reset for 6:22 a.m. PST (9:22 a.m. EST; 1422 GMT) to give the launch team extra time to analyze upper level wind data.
6:02 a.m. local (9:02 a.m. EST; 1402 GMT)
The first stage kerosene fuel tank is being pressurized for flight.
6:00 a.m. local (9:00 a.m. EST; 1400 GMT)
Twenty minutes to go.

After quickly climbing away from its coastal pad, the rocket will soar southward over the Pacific Ocean. The three solid boosters burn out and separate less than 90 seconds into the flight, leaving the kerosene-powered main engine to continue pushing the rocket. The spent stage then jettisons four-and-a-half minutes into flight to let the hydrazine-fueled second stage ignite.

Within 11 minutes, the vehicle settles into an initial 115 x 440 mile parking orbit along a trajectory the cruises above the South Pacific before crossing Antarctica and then proceeding northbound toward Africa. The second stage reignites its engine for 12 seconds over Madagascar to reach a near-circular polar orbit of 411 x 425 miles above the planet.

The 2,081-pound payload is expected to be released from the rocket 57 minutes after blastoff.

5:55 a.m. local (8:55 a.m. EST; 1355 GMT)
T-minus 15 minutes and counting. Countdown clocks are running again following the planned 20-minute hold. The count will continue to the T-minus 4 minute mark where another hold is scheduled. Launch remains set to occur at precisely 6:20:42 a.m. local (9:20:42 a.m. EST; 1420:42 GMT).
5:40 a.m. local (8:40 a.m. EST)
Now just 40 minutes away from blastoff. The Delta 2 rocket launching SMAP is known as the 7320-10 model. It has a standard first stage with three solid rocket boosters, a hypergolic second stage, no third stage and a 10-foot-diameter payload shroud.

The first stage is fueled by RP-1, a highly refined kerosene, and supercold liquid oxygen. The RS-27A main engine, made by Aerojet Rocketdyne, generates about 237,000 pounds of thrust.

The strap-on solids are known as Graphite Epoxy Motors built by ATK. They generate 109,000 pounds of thrust each.

The second stage features a restartable Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ10-118K engine burning Aerozine 50, which is a mixture of hydrazine and dimethyl hydrazine, reacting with nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer. The total thrust is estimated at a 9,750 pounds.

The Delta 2 stands 126.6 feet tall and weighs 165.5 tons at liftoff.

5:35 a.m. local (8:35 a.m. EST)
T-minus 15 minutes and holding. Clocks have entered the first of two planned hold periods during the final portion of the Terminal Countdown. This pause will last 20 minutes in duration.

These holds are designed to give the launch team a chance to deal with any problems and catch up on work that could be running behind schedule.
5:33 a.m. local (8:33 a.m. EST)
Now moving into data link checks to verify good telemetry connections.
5:31 a.m. local (8:31 a.m. EST)
The first stage engine steering checks are complete.
5:27 a.m. local (8:27 a.m. EST)
The second stage engine slews just finished. First stage tests are starting.
5:25 a.m. local (8:25 a.m. EST)
The launch team is beginning the "slew" or steering checks of the first and second stage engines. These are gimbal tests of the nozzles on the first stage main engine and twin vernier engines and second stage engine to ensure the rocket will be able to steer itself during launch.
5:21 a.m. local (8:21 a.m. EST)
Checks of the rocket's safety system have been accomplished in the past few minutes of the countdown.
5:20 a.m. local (8:20 a.m. EST)
Sixty minutes from launch. The SMAP satellite will become the 229th primary payload put into space by the venerable Delta 2 rocket over the past 26 years. Here's a look at some other stats about today's mission. This will be:
Earlier updates