NASA’s latest Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite — Aqua — successfully launched Saturday morning, May 4, 2002. Aqua is dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of Earth’s water cycle and environment. Launching the Aqua spacecraft marks a major milestone in support of NASA’s mission to help us better understand and protect our planet.
The Aqua spacecraft lifted off from the Western Test Range of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Delta II rocket at 2:55 a.m. PDT. Spacecraft separation occurred at 3:54 a.m., inserting Aqua into a 438-mile (705-kilometer) orbit.