Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Aquarius launch pushed back to Friday

The launch from California of a sea salt-mapping NASA science instrument has been pushed back from Thursday to Friday.

NASA said extra time was needed to resolve an inconsistency found in the software that will help a Delta II rocket steer through upper-level winds.

The launch time Friday is the same, targeted for the opening of a five-minute window at 10:20 a.m. Eastern time.

The weather forecast at Vandenberg Air Force Base also remains the same, with a 100 percent chance of favorable conditions for the launch.

NASA's $287-million Aquarius mission will map ocean surface salinity for three years. It is the primary instrument on the Argentinian-built SAC-D satellite that also holds seven other instruments from four countries.

IMAGE: Artist's concept of the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, a collaboration between NASA and Argentina's space agency, with participation from Brazil, Canada, France and Italy. Aquarius, the NASA-built primary instrument on the spacecraft, will take NASA's first space-based measurements of ocean surface salinity, a key missing variable in satellite observations of Earth that links ocean circulation, the global balance of freshwater and climate. Credit: NASA

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