REDONDO BEACH, Calif., April 2, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully shipped NASA's Aura Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., yesterday. The 22.5-foot-tall, 3.25-ton satellite will serve as a space-based chemical laboratory, helping scientists to better understand the Earth's ozone, air quality and climate.
"Shipping a satellite to the launch site is an exciting and momentous step towards achieving the ultimate goal of getting it on-orbit and operating," said Dana Southwood, Northrop Grumman's EOS program manager. "Once on-orbit, Aura's instruments will gather the most comprehensive measurements of atmospheric gases ever, including ozone. Aura is the first satellite capable of collecting data that will allow scientists to gauge the concentration and movement of gases in the troposphere -- the region of the Earth's atmosphere some seven to 10 miles above its surface that most affects daily human life."
The satellite was nestled into a special shipping container that was also used to transport Aqua and Terra, NASA's other two major EOS satellites. The container was transported by an air-ride tractor-trailer and driven 170 miles north, along a carefully planned route, to Vandenberg from the Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector's Space Park manufacturing facility in Redondo Beach.
Aura will be tested one final time at Vandenberg Air Force Base, mated with a Delta II rocket and then undergo processing for an early summer launch.
Aura fulfills part of NASA's commitment to studying the Earth as a global system and represents a key contribution by NASA to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This mission will continue the global data already being collected by NASA's other EOS satellites, Terra which monitors land, and Aqua, observing Earth's water cycle.
Aura is a member of Northrop Grumman's T-300 family of spacecraft, designed to provide low-jitter, precision pointing and longevity for scientific and remote-sensing payloads. Aura uses the same spacecraft bus as Aqua, its Northrop Grumman-built fraternal twin.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology. The sector creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers that contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.
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