NASA's Aura spacecraft, the latest in the Earth Observing System series, has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to begin launch preparations.
Aura was transported from Northrop Grumman's Space Park manufacturing facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. The spacecraft will undergo final tests and integration with a Boeing Delta II rocket for a scheduled launch in June.
Aura's four state-of-the-art instruments, including two built and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will study the atmosphere's chemistry and dynamics. The spacecraft will provide data to help scientists better understand Earth's ozone, air quality and climate change. JPL's Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer is an infrared sensor designed to study Earth's troposphere-the lowest region of the atmosphere-and to look at ozone. JPL's Microwave Limb Sounder is an instrument intended to improve our understanding of ozone in Earth's stratosphere, vital in protecting us from solar ultraviolet radiation.
"The entire Aura team is very excited to see all our efforts come to fruition and is looking forward to a successful launch," said Rick Pickering, Aura project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Aura fulfills part of NASA's commitment to study Earth as a global system and represents a key agency contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This mission will continue the global data collection underway by NASA's other Earth Observing System satellites: Terra, which monitors land; and Aqua, which observes Earth's water cycle.
The Aura spacecraft is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort to determine how human-induced and natural changes affect the global environment.
For more information about Aura on the Internet, visit http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov . For more information about the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer on the Internet, visit http://tes.jpl.nasa.gov/ . For more information about the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Internet, visit http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/ .
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
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