May 14, 2002
Aqua is NASA's newest Earth observing satellite. It was launched aboard a Delta II rocket on May 4 at 2:55 a.m. (PDT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Like it's older sibling, Terra, Aqua is dedicated to providing a better understanding of our planet. Aqua, as its name implies, will specifically gather information concerning the Earth's water cycle, including global precipitation (liquid and frozen), evaporation, and water storage. Aqua's high gain antenna was successfully deployed, and telemetry is being received at ground stations. It's likely that the data from the initial Aqua observations will be released in about two weeks.