Encyclopedia Astronautica

American earth sea satellite. One launch, 2002.05.04. Aqua was also designated the EOS-PM Earth Observing System satellite, joining EOS-AM/Terra. The CERES and MODIS instruments aboard Aqua were also carried on the Terra satellite.

The satellite was built by TRW and based on the T-330/AB1200 bus. Aqua's payload consisted of a number of remote sensing instruments:

  • CERES with two broadband visible-to-far-infrared radiometers which measured the energy balance of the Earth's atmosphere, as UV radiation from the Sun was absorbed and reradiated by the surface, atmosphere and clouds in the infrared. The CERES sensors measured flux in the 0.3-5 and 8-12 micron bands and overall flux in the 0.3-100 micron range.
  • AIRS was an infrared (3.7-15 micron) spectrometer giving temperature and humidity vertical profiles. It had a companion 0.4-1.0 micron 4-band optical photometer.
  • AMSU-A1 and AMSU-A2 were a pair of 15-channel microwave (15-90 GHz) sounders for temperature profiles.
  • HSB was the Humidity Sounder for Brazil, a 4-channel microwave (150 and 183 GHz) sounder which could obtain humidity profiles even under heavy cloud.
  • AMSR-E was a Japanese microwave (6.9-89 GHz) scanning radiometer which used the microwave emission scattered from raindrops to determine rainfall rates, as well as measuring sea surface winds and temperature.
  • MODIS was an optical/infrared (0.4-14.5 micron) imaging spectrometer.

The Aqua science instruments were hosted by TRW's modular, standardized AB 1200 common spacecraft bus. The spacecraft was built of lightweight composite materials to allow for increased payload weight and reduce launch costs. Its inherent modularity allowed fabrication and testing in parallel to achieve schedule economies. The Earth-facing side of the spacecraft was devoted solely to the Aqua instruments, maximizing fields-of-view. All instruments were attached to the craft via simple mounting devices, allowing them to be integrated in the order received, eliminating a source of schedule bottlenecks.

Spacecraft Specification

  • Stowed 8.8 ft (2.68m) x 8.2ft (2.49 m) x 21.3 ft (6.49 m)
  • Deployed 15.8 ft (4.81 m) x 54.8 ft (16.70 m) x 26.4 ft (8.04 m)
  • At Launch 6,468 lb (2,934 kg)
  • Spacecraft 3,858 lb (1,750 kg)
  • Instruments 2,385 lb (1,082 kg)
  • Propellant 225 lb (102 kg)
Electrical Power: 4,860 W end of life

Telemetry: S-band (TDRSS and Deep Space Network/ Ground Network compatible)

Data Links: X-band

Propulsion: Hydrazine blow-down system; 4 pairs of 1 lbf thrusters

Orbit: 438 mi (705 km) polar, sun synchronous

Design Life: Six years

Electric System: 4.86 average kW.

Gross mass: 2,934 kg (6,468 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 2,832 kg (6,243 lb).
Payload: 1,082 kg (2,385 lb).
First Launch: 2002.05.04.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 2 7000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 7000 series used GEM-40 strap-ons with the Extra Extended Long Tank core, further upgraded with the RS-27A engine. More...
  • Delta 7920-X Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...
  • Delta 7920-10L American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter long fairing More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • TRW American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. TRW Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Aqua Home Page, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Aqua Press Kit, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Aqua Fact Sheet, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Aqua Brochure, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Aqua Science Writer's Guide, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Aqua Lithograph, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

Aqua Chronology

2002 May 4 - . 09:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-10L. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10L D291.
  • Aqua - . Payload: EOS-PM1. Mass: 2,934 kg (6,468 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: TRW. Class: Earth. Type: Earth resources satellite. Spacecraft: Aqua. USAF Sat Cat: 27424 . COSPAR: 2002-022A. Apogee: 706 km (438 mi). Perigee: 699 km (434 mi). Inclination: 98.2000 deg. Period: 98.80 min. Climatology and environment satellite. Launch delayed from December 20, 2001, and January 30, April 18 and 26, May 2. NASA's Aqua remote sensing satellite was placed in a 185 x 707 km x 98.1 deg transfer orbit at 1006 UTC. A second burn of the second stage of the Delta at 1048:58 UTC put Aqua in a 676 x 687 km x 98.2 deg orbit.

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