Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

NASA launches ocean-watch satellite
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 10, 2011

The US space agency on Friday launched a satellite to observe levels of salt on the surface of the world's oceans and measure how changes in salinity may be linked to future climate.

The $400 million Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, a partnership with Argentina, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:20 am Pacific time (1420 GMT).

The orbiting science instrument will aim to map the entire open ocean every seven days from its position 408 miles (657 kilometers) above Earth, producing monthly estimates that show how salt levels change over time and location.

"Data from this mission will advance our understanding of the ocean," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in Washington.

NASA said the mission will survey salinity at the ocean's surface in "the most detailed summary of conditions ever undertaken."

Previously, such measurements were taken largely by ships moving along their trade routes.

The mission, whose name refers to US-Argentine Aquarius Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC)-D observatory, is set to last for three years.

A European satellite was launched in 2009 to measure soil moisture and ocean salinity.

The European Space Agency's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission's main focus is soil moisture, while Aquarius is aimed primarily at measuring ocean salinity, which plays a key role in exchanges of water and heat in the atmosphere.

The Aquarius/SAC-D is a global collaboration with partner Argentina as well as France, Brazil, Canada and Italy, NASA said.

"This mission is the most outstanding project in the history of scientific and technological cooperation between Argentina and the United States," said the Argentine space agency's director Conrado Varotto.

"Information from the mission will have significant benefits for humankind."

Earlier this year, NASA lost Glory, a $424 million Earth-observing satellite that failed to separate properly from its rocket launcher and plunged into the ocean.

But Aquarius/SAC-D steered clear of that problem, and the payload fairing protecting the spacecraft separated and fell away as planned, allowing the craft to enter orbit.

The satellite observatory is carrying seven additional instruments to collect a range of environmental data for studies of natural hazards, air quality, land processes and epidemiology, NASA said.


Related Links
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

NASA's infrared image of major Hurricane Adrian reveals its stormy life's blood
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jun 10, 2011
Strong thunderstorms are the life's blood of tropical cyclones, and infrared and radar satellite data from NASA confirms that the eastern Pacific Ocean's first hurricane has plenty of them and they're over 9 miles high. Adrian exploded in growth overnight from a tropical storm on June 8 to a major hurricane. NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Hurricane Adrian this morning at 8:29 UTC (1:59 a. ... read more

NASA Releases New Lunar Eclipse Video

The Power of A Moon Rock

Looking at the volatile side of the Moon

Parts of moon interior as wet as Earth's upper mantle

Opportunity Heads Toward 'Spirit Point'

NASA Inspector General Report into the Management of MSL Project

New solar system formation models indicate that Jupiter's foray robbed Mars of mass

Opportunity Studies Rock Outcrop

Students Build Space Habitats at NASA's Johnson Space Center

Solar system edge 'bunches' in magnetic bubbles: NASA

NASA Spending Shift to Benefit Centers Focused on Science and Technology

Japan's next gizmo: brainwave-controlled cat ears

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

China's Fengyun-3B satellite goes into official operation

Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

Space station puts out welcome mat

New Crew Members Arrive at ISS

Soyuz docks at ISS carrying Russian, US, Japanese astronauts

Soyuz heads to ISS carrying Russian, US, Japanese astronauts

SES-3 Satellite Arrives At Baikonour Launch Base

Shipments Of Sea Launch Zenit-3Sl Hardware Resume On Schedule

US Army supports student launch program

Boeing Opens Exploration Launch Systems Office in Florida

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

Second Rocky World Makes Kepler-10 a Multi-Planet System

Kepler's Astounding Haul of Multiple-Planet Systems Just Keeps Growing

Bennett team discovers new class of extrasolar planets

Japan 3-D pop avatar a real-world hit

While consoles slug it out, mobiles games zip in

HP's TouchPad going on sale in US on July 1

Greenpeace warns of radiation risk to Japan children

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement