NASA's Aqua spacecraft is ready to ship to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. to begin launch preparations. Aqua's 170-mile journey will begin late Sunday night, February 24 from TRW's Space Park manufacturing facility, via a special shipping container. Aqua will arrive at Vandenberg on Monday, February 25, where it will undergo final tests and integration with a Delta II rocket for launch in April.
Aqua, the latest in the Earth Observing System (EOS) series, will collect measurements of rainfall, snow, sea ice, temperature, humidity, vegetation, soil moisture and clouds as part of NASA's long-term, coordinated research study of changes in the global environment. Aqua's instruments will gather important data about global energy and water cycles, enabling scientists to monitor climate variations and trends.
"The entire Aqua team is very excited as we are approaching our launch date," said Phil Sabelhaus, Aqua Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We're excited to see all our efforts come to fruition and look forward to a successful launch."
Aqua fulfills part of NASA's commitment to studying the Earth as a global system and represents a key contribution by NASA to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Aqua carries six state-of-the-art instruments to observe the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, land, ice and snow covers. Aqua will collect a large amount of information about the Earth's water cycle, thus the name Aqua.
The Aqua spacecraft is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort being conducted to determine how human-induced and natural changes affect our global environment.
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