Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

NASA Launches Aura Satellite 20

Posted by michael
from the holey-moley dept.
ukcollin writes "NASA successfully launched the Aura satellite today after several previous failed attempts. The Aura satellite was launched by a 12-story Delta 2 rocket, at 6:01am (EST) from Vandenberg AFB in California. The satellite is reported to have cost in excess of $785 million dollars, and its main mission will be to study the Earth's ozone to try and determine if the ozone hole is shrinking or increasing. Although it will be focused on the stratosphere (the ozone layer), it will also be tracking pollution, climate changes, etc. by scanning and analyzing each of Earth's atmospheric levels all the way down to the troposphere."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Launches Aura Satellite

Comments Filter:
  • by brownpau (639342) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:21PM (#9710229) Homepage
    Also see SpaceflightNow's Live Status Report. [spaceflightnow.com]
  • by Retric (704075) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:25PM (#9710274)
    I guess nobody cares how the ozone doing? Or perhaps $785 million is not what it used to be.

    Or maybe launching something into space is not a big deal and even if people are willing to debate the results of science even though they don't care about the people / things that carry it out. PS: 19 min till first post?

    • It's just that Slashdotters don't need any evidence or proof of what's happening with the atmosphere.

      They're already dead-certain that the atmosphere isn't changing and, even if it is, we're not causing the changes and, even if we are, we've just become the hand of nature/God and therefore the changes are natural/divine.

      No satellite proof is needed so the satellite is redundant as is the story. "Nothing to see here. Move along," they would say -- before being killed at the next zebra crossing.
    • I guess nobody cares how the ozone doing?

      The ozone layer...isn't that outside? Slashdotters spend most of their time inside, hence nothing to worry about! :)

  • A little irony (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:41PM (#9710441)
    The Delta 2 rocket is the third most atmospheric polluting rocket currently being used in the world (behind the Space Shuttle and Titan 4s). Every launch creates a mini hole in the ozone layer due to emissions from the solid fuel rockets spewing out hydrogen chloride and aluminum oxide.
    • Re:A little irony (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xentax (201517)
      Um, not that I automatically disbelieve you or anything, but could you elaborate and/or cite some sources?

      The shuttle SRBs separate pretty early in the launch process - I wouldn't think any of their exhaust would be high enough off the ground to make it to the ozone layer.

      Let's not forget the scale, either -- even the shuttle pales in comparison to, say, the amount of CFCs put into the atmosphere (and I mean up where it counts) by volcanic eruptions (though I haven't done the math on amount per eruption a
      • Re:A little irony (Score:3, Informative)

        by Neil Blender (555885)
        Um, not that I automatically disbelieve you or anything, but could you elaborate and/or cite some sources?

        Here is an article. [aero.org]

        Please note that I made no claim to the amount of ozone a single rocket launch depletes, it is fairly small. But rockets do destroy ozone, lots of rockets are launched every year, and the number of launches is undoubtedly going to increase as time goes on.
        • Good stuff, thanks.

          It sounds like we'll want to favor liquid-fuel over solid when possible, which most folks already were thinking already. That's good news.

          And, of course, air-release solutions that break the problem up (a big turbojet to get you to ~50,000 feet and thus less fuel to burn to get X tons to orbit) should be better in this department than from-ground solutions.

          Xentax
        • Rocket engine exhaust contains chemical compounds that react with ozone in the stratosphere. A new measurement program suggests that current space transportation activities only minimally affect Earth's protective ozone layer.

          The above test is in BOLD at the top of the page you linked to. Perhaps you overstate the case?
    • Re:A little irony (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shiwala (93327)
      The Delta 2 rocket is the third most atmospheric polluting rocket currently being used in the world (behind the Space Shuttle and Titan 4s). Every launch creates a mini hole in the ozone layer due to emissions from the solid fuel rockets spewing out hydrogen chloride and aluminum oxide.

      Interesting...I had never given that much thought until now. For anyone else who's interested, here's more info on rocket emissions [aero.org].

    • tis where I work (Score:3, Insightful)

      by boarder (41071)
      In some of the replies to this post, you and others have cited stories by the Aerospace Corp (aero.org). This happens to be where I work and they took us on a tour of the labs researching exactly what you are talking about.

      The Air Force is extremely concerned about the pollution by their rockets. The EELV program (the new launch vehicles by Lockheed and Boeing, Atlas V and Delta IV) now has emissions as one of its factors when they finally decide on the rocket to use. Side note: the USAF originally want
  • by Andy Mitchell (780458) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @06:17PM (#9712326) Homepage

    It just occured to be that as laser printers and photcopiers generate ozone, if we all just print more stuff on paper made from sustainable forestry we will have all the ozone we need and remove surplus CO2 from the atmosphere :-)

    Now, before anyone takes me too seriously and prints a copy of every RFC ever written "to save the planet", this doesn't really work. For a start ozone at low altitude is just a toxic gas that will not help protect us from UV....

  • Even if Aura has an important mission, it is only one of the six satellites that will fly close to each other by 2006. Here is the introduction of a post on my blog [weblogs.com], which contains pictures and missions of all these satellites.
    The "A-Train" satellite formation consists of six satellites flying in close proximity in a near future. The first one, Aqua, was launched in 2002. The second one, Aura, will be launched in June 2004, while CloudSAT, CALIPSO and PARABOL will start their missions in October 2004. The
    • The first A-train satellite was Terra, launched in 2001. It and Aqua have similar sensor suites, geared towards terrestrial surface observation, whereas Aura carries no imaging (visible or near-ir) sensors. The biggest problem with having so many birds so close together in the time domain is that it's very difficult - without large expenditures - to track more than one at a time. As it is, Aura will conflict with Aqua (1330-1400 GMT ascending nodes). Fortunately, unless you're working in a heavily interdisc
    • I'd just like to correct a mis-statement I made in my previous post-
      Terra is not considered as part of the "A-Train" concept/constellation. It is the first satellite of the EOS Terra-Aqua-Aura trio, however, so there is a degree of overlap with the A-train. Its ascending node is at approx 1030L, as opposed to the afternoon ascendancy of the A-train components.

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

Working...