NASAs latest Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite Aqua successfully launched Saturday morning, May 4, 2002. Aqua is dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of Earths water cycle and environment. Launching the Aqua spacecraft marks a major milestone in support of NASAs mission to help us better understand and protect our planet.
The images above are computer-generated models of the Aqua spacecraft and the Delta II rocket that carried the satellite into orbit. Click on either of the images to view an animation of Aquas launch and deployment (6.9 MB). The computer models of both Aqua and the Delta II rocket were produced by Reto Stöckli, NASA Earth Observatory team, using Maya software.
The Aqua spacecraft lifted off from the Western Test Range of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Delta II rocket at 2:55 a.m. PDT. Spacecraft separation occurred at 3:54 a.m., inserting Aqua into a 438-mile (705-kilometer) orbit.