18 May 2011

Yesterday, the SAC-D/Aquarius satellite was exhibited in Washington DC and its launching was announced for June 9th from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA.

Currently, the Delta II rocket that will launch the satellite – designed and constructed by INVAP for the Argentine Space Agency (CONAE) – is undergoing the last tests.

This mission’s purpose is to study the ocean’s salinity levels and their influence on climate changes, making it possible to trace the global variations in salinity and therefore to perform better predictions of the future climate events. For the next 3 years it will provide every week a detailed view of the oceans from a distance of aproximately 650 km above the Earth, showing the flow of salinity between the different areas of the ocean over time.

Besides the Aquarius (designed and constructed by the JPL-NASA), the satellite carries seven other instruments that will collect environmental data for a wide range of applications, including studies on natural hazards, air quality, earth processes and epidemiology.

SAC-D/Aquarius is a scientific collaboration project between the space agencies of the USA, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy and Argentina.

Images NASA