Canada's SCISAT satellite successfully launched

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2003

image The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) today confirmed the successful launch of its SCISAT satellite last night from NASA's launch facilities near Lompoc, California. During its two-year mission, SCISAT will help a team of Canadian and international scientists improve their understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, with a special emphasis on the changes occurring over Canada and in the Arctic.

"This leading-edge Canadian technology will improve our scientific understanding of the complex chemical changes occurring in the upper atmosphere, particularly in the far north", said Mr. Allan Rock, Minister of Industry." The SCISAT mission illustrates how Canadian universities, government and industry can work together to put innovative technologies at the service of scientific research," added Minister Rock.

SCISAT was launched yesterday at 19:10 PDT, approximately 160 km offshore from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 150 kg satellite was packed in the nose of a Pegasus XL rocket dropped at 40,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean from a Lockeed-1011 aircraft. The satellite was successfully brought to its 650 km- high polar orbit by the 3-stage Pegasus rocket.

"SCISAT sets a milestone in Canadian space science," said Marc Garneau, President of the CSA. "Following the MOST space telescope launched in June, SCISAT is the second science satellite successfully placed in orbit by Canada in the last 45 days. This illustrates the growing importance of space science for Canada and for the Canadian Space Program."

A scientific team of researchers from around the world, lead by Professor Peter Bernath of the University of Waterloo, will participate in the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) which aims to measure and understand the chemical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the Earth's atmosphere, particularly at high latitudes. The data, recorded as SCISAT orbits the Earth, will provide scientists with improved measurements relating to global ozone processes. It will also help policy makers assess existing environmental policy and develop protective measures for improving the health of our atmosphere and preventing further ozone depletion.

The primary scientific instrument on board SCISAT is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS), built by ABB of Québec City. A second instrument named MAESTRO (Measurements of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation), built by EMS Technologies of Ottawa, will also fly on the satellite. Dr. Tom McElroy of Environment Canada is the principal investigator for MAESTRO, and will be supported by Professor James Drummond of the University of Toronto.

For more background information on the SCISAT mission, please visit the CSA website at:

NASA TV coverage will be simulcast on the web and accessible via the NASA Home page at:

Live informational updates and post-event video will also be available through NASA Kennedy Space Center's Virtual Launch Control Center at:

For images and animation, please visit:

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