10-28-2011, 04:39 PM
NASA launches latest Earth-observing satellite
- VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — After a years-long delay, an Earth-observing satellite blasted into space early Friday on a dual mission to improve weather forecasts and monitor climate change.
A Delta 2 rocket carrying the NASA satellite lifted off shortly before 3 a.m. from the central California coast. The satellite separated from the rocket about an hour after launching, unfurled its solar panels and headed toward an orbit 500 miles above Earth.
NASA invited a small group of Twitter followers to watch the pre-dawn launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, where weather conditions were ideal. Skies were clear and there was little wind.
"It was a thrill to watch the bird go up this morning in the beautiful clear night sky with the stars out there," Mary Glackin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said at a post-launch news conference
“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. – J Robert Oppenheimer.