Northrop Aqua Satellite Hits 10-Year Orbit Milestone

Site: spaceplace.nasa.gov

A Northrop Grumman-built NASA satellite, designed for a six-year mission life, has hit its tenth year on-orbit.

The company said Monday the Aqua satellite, originally launched May 4, 2002, has collected data related to the Earth’s climate and water cycles for 10 years.

Aqua acts as a primary satellite in NASA’s Earth observing system and was built to help scientists gain more accurate insight into weather and climate conditions. 

The firm said Aqua has played a role in gathering data during hurricanes and wildfires, observing the Arctic sea ice retreat and the volcanic plumes from Chile and Iceland. 

Scientists receive nearly 89 gigabytes of data daily from Aqua, the company said.

That data has led to more than 700 science publications per year, according to Claire Parkinson, Aqua project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Aqua provided-data has helped monitor mis-troposphere carbon dioxide, daily global sea surface temperatures and the effects of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, according to the company.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently launched a new weather forecast computer model called Rapid Refresh

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