NASA engineers and mission officials decided during multiple launch attempts this week to postpone the launch of the Aura satellite to put safety first for mission success. Aura, a mission dedicated to the health of the Earth's atmosphere, launched successfully this morning at 6:01:59 EDT (3:01:59 PDT).
Aura was scheduled to launch July 13. NASA managers determined on two occasions to delay the launch to maximize the possibility of a safe launch of a fully functional Aura spacecraft and Delta II booster.
"It was essential for NASA to best ensure the safety of human life and the success of the spacecraft's launch by delaying until we believed all systems were optimal and ready to deploy," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Earth Science Dr. Ghassem Asrar. "Today we are celebrating a launch that completes a program announced by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. We are proud to say the agency has delivered on its commitment to the nation," he added.
The safety measures taken during the launch of Aura are characteristic of NASA's commitment to safety and mission assurance, and reflect the space agency's advancements in transforming its culture.
The Aura spacecraft is designed to support a six-year mission.
For Aura mission information and images on the Internet, visit: