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Boeing Will Launch NASA Mission to Track Mother Nature

Seal Beach - April 29, 2002
The Boeing Delta team will help NASA scientists better predict environmental changes on Earth by launching the Aqua spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on May 4. At approximately 2:55 a.m. PDT, a Boeing Delta II rocket will blast off from Space Launch Complex 2 West and thunder into space to place Aqua into a Sun-synchronous orbit.

"Everyone on the Delta team has dedicated themselves to the time and effort needed to launch and deploy Aqua," said Michael Henderson, Boeing Aqua program manager. "Our success will set the stage for NASA scientists to embark on a mission that could improve life on Earth."

Aqua's instruments will allow scientists to gather data to improve weather forecasting, enhance evacuation plans, and steer development away from storm tracks.

To help NASA ensure mission success, the Delta team must accurately place the Aqua spacecraft into its six-year flight path to chronologically map the planet's changes.

"It's a lot like running a relay," Henderson said. "The Delta team is at the starting line, ready to launch and deploy the satellite. And just like a relay, proper placement of the baton, or in this case the satellite during the exchange, will help determine the outcome."

For this mission, Boeing will use a new version of its 10-meter wide composite fairing, which has a longer cylindrical section to accommodate larger payloads. It will take the Boeing Delta II approximately one hour of flight to deploy the NASA spacecraft.

To date, the Delta II has successfully launched more than 190 NASA missions and maintains a 98 percent success rate.

Aqua is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The spacecraft was assembled by TRW in Redondo, Beach, Calif. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., NASA's Langley Research Center in Langley, Va., the National Space Development Agency of Japan, and Brazil's Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais contributed to the project by providing instruments aboard the spacecraft.

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Squadron Destacks Titan II for other launch
Vandenberg AFB - Apr 21, 2002
After numerous problems with a Titan II rocket carrying a military weather satellite, and with another Titan II launch fast approaching, the 2nd Space Launch Squadron decided to take an unprecedented route.

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