Five years ago today — July 15, 2004 — NASA’s Aura spacecraft launched on a Delta-2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Aura carries sensors designed to study atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, e.g., changes in ozone. You can learn more about the Aura mission at this NASA page, and also at this NASA (Goddard Space Flight Center) page.
(Aura spacecraft in the high-bay. Note the spreader bar at the top and, for scale, the people at the bottom. NASA photo from the Aura spacecraft gallery.)
Speaking of launches, congratulations to the SpaceX team for successfully launching their Falcon-1 booster on its first commercial mission yesterday. They put a Malaysian remote imaging satellite into orbit, and from all accounts did a good job of it. Here’s the Spaceflight Now story about the launch.
And speaking of launches, today is the eve of a very special space anniversary … which we of course plan to cover in a blog entry tomorrow.by