UPDATE: Aquarius/SAC-D Launched

UPDATE: Aquarius/SAC-D Launched

UPDATE: Aquarius/SAC-D was successfully launched this morning (Friday, June 10, 2011).

ORIGINAL STORY: Launch of the Aquarius/SAC-D earth science mission has been postponed from tomorrow to Friday.

NASA said that the postponement was due to the need “to complete additional review of an inconsistency found in the Delta II launch vehicle flight profile” for flying through upper level wind conditions expected tomorrow. Waiting until Friday gives the launch a “100 percent of favorable weather conditions for the launch.”

NASA’s earth science program has suffered through two losses recently. The OCO satellite in 2009 and the GLORY satellite earlier this year ended up in the Pacific Ocean instead of orbit because of launch vehicle failures. The Taurus XL was the problem in those two launches. Aquarius/SAC-D will launch on the tried and true Delta II rocket, the workhorse of the space program with an enviable track record.

Aquarius is a NASA instrument on Argentina’s SAC-D spacecraft. It will study ocean surface salinity. Canada, France and Italy also are contributing instruments to the mission.

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