Monday, February 01, 2010

NASA's Aquarius Gets a Presidential Visit

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (center in blue) was briefed Jan. 20 during a tour of the facility where the JPL-built Aquarius instrument is being integrated with the Argentinian satellite, called the Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas (SAC-D).

The visit took place during the kickoff of the satellite's system contractor new satellite integration facility in Bariloche, Argentina. The president met with Aquarius/SAC-D team members from NASA, Argentina's space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, and the contractor.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (center in blue). Photo: Argentine government

The primary instrument on the mission, Aquarius is designed to provide monthly global maps of how salt concentration varies on the ocean surface -- a key indicator of ocean circulation and its role in climate change. Seven Argentine space agency-sponsored instruments will provide environmental data for a wide range of applications, including natural hazards, land processes, epidemiological studies and air quality issues.

The minimum three-year mission is scheduled to launch this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

› Mission web site

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