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Sweet relief as salty satellite soars skywards

Nasa has successfully launched its ‘Aquarius’ satellite mission into orbit.

The mission – which will measure ocean salinity – was hefted into space atop a Delta II rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:20, Pacific time this morning.

“Data from this mission will advance our understanding of the ocean and prediction of the global water cycle,” said Michael Freilich, director of Nasa’s Earth Science Division. For a longer story on the science of this mission see: NASA ready to test the waters.

This successful launch breaks a run of bad form for the space agency, which saw two recent science satellites crash down to Earth after rocket problems. As Nature’s inimitable Geoff Brumfiel remarked on popular microblogging site Twitter, “Hooray! It looks like NASA has launched a climate satellite into orbit instead of the Southern Pacific Ocean.”

aquarius is go.jpg

Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

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