Aqua (EOS PM-1)
|Launch date||May 4, 2002|
|Launch vehicle||Delta II|
|Launch site||Vandenberg AFB|
|Mission duration||Planned 6 Year Mission|
|Mass||3,117 kg (6,872 lb)|
|Semimajor axis||7077.75 km|
|Apoapsis||708 km (440 mi)|
|Periapsis||691 km (429 mi)|
|Orbital period||98.4 minutes|
|Orbits per day||14.5625|
Aqua (EOS PM-1) is a multi-national NASA scientific research satellite in orbit around the Earth, studying the precipitation, evaporation, and cycling of water. It is the second major component of the Earth Observing System (EOS) preceded by Terra (launched 1999) and followed by Aura (launched 2004).
The name "Aqua" comes from the Latin word for water. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 4, 2002, aboard a Delta II rocket. Aqua is on a Sun-synchronous orbit. It flies leading the satellite formation called the "A Train" with several other satellites (Aura, CALIPSO, CloudSat and the French PARASOL).
Aqua carries six instruments for studies of water on the Earth's surface and in the atmosphere:
- AMSR-E — Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS — measures cloud properties, sea surface temperature, near-surface wind speed, radiative energy flux, surface water, ice and snow. Furnished by the National Space Development Agency of Japan.
- MODIS — Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, also measures cloud properties and radiative energy flux, also aerosol properties; land cover and land use change, fires and volcanos. This instrument is also aboard Terra.
- AMSU-A — Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit — measures atmospheric temperature and humidity.
- AIRS — Atmospheric Infrared Sounder — measures atmospheric temperature and humidity, land and sea surface temperatures.
- HSB — Humidity Sounder for Brazil — VHF band equipment measuring atmospheric humidity. Furnished by Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais of Brazil. The HSB instrument has been in survival mode since 2/5/2003.
- CERES — Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System, Flying Models 3 and 4, measure broadband radiative energy flux.
The Aqua spacecraft has a mass of about 2,850 kilograms (6,300 lb), plus propellant of about 230 kilograms (510 lb) (at launch). Stowed, the satellite is 2.68 m x 2.49 m x 6.49 m. Deployed, Aqua is 4.81 m x 16.70 m x 8.04 m.
An image of Arctic shrinkage from Aqua observations
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Aqua (satellite)|
- NASA Aqua site
- Aqua Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
- Mission Control Tunes Up Aqua's Orbit, August 20, 2009