A Delta II rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California with the Aquarius spacecraft. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory built Aquarius, which was the primary instrument on the Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas (SAC)-D observatory. The Aquarius/SAC-D mission was developed collaboratively between NASA and Argentina's space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE). Aquarius's mission was to study sea surface salinity and it made the first space-based global observations of ocean surface salinity, flying 657 kilometers (408 miles) above Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit that repeated every seven days. Planned for a 3 year mission, the probe finally suffered a power failure and the mission was ended in June 2015.
Image #: 201106100017HQ (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Date: June 10, 2011
Owner: NASA on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons