Aura (satellite)

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Aura (transparent).png
Aura (EOS CH-1)
Mission type Earth Observation
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2004-026A
SATCAT no. 28376
Spacecraft properties
Bus T330 (AB-1200)
Manufacturer Northrop Grumman
Launch mass 2,970 kilograms (6,550 lb)
Dimensions 4.70 m x 17.37 m x 6.91 m
Power 4.6 kW
Start of mission
Launch date July 15, 2004, 10:01:51 (2004-07-15UTC10:01:51Z) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7920-10L
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Semi-major axis 7,080.7 kilometers (4,399.7 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0001111[1]
Perigee 708 kilometers (440 mi)[1]
Apogee 710 kilometers (440 mi)[1]
Inclination 98.22 degrees[1]
Period 98.83 minutes[1]
RAAN 96.8126 degrees
Argument of perigee 89.5089 degrees
Mean anomaly 270.6277 degrees
Mean motion 14.57112850
Epoch 25 January 2015, 03:15:27 UTC[1]
Aura instruments.

Aura (EOS CH-1) is a multi-national NASA scientific research satellite in orbit around the Earth, studying the Earth's ozone layer, air quality and climate. It is the third major component of the Earth Observing System (EOS) following on Terra (launched 1999) and Aqua (launched 2002). Aura follows on from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). The Aura spacecraft is healthy and is expected to operate until at least 2022, likely beyond.[2]

The name "Aura" comes from the Latin word for air. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on July 15, 2004, aboard a Delta II 7920-10L rocket.

The Aura spacecraft has a mass of about 1,765 kg (3,891 lb). The body is 6.9 m (23 ft) long with the extended single solar panel about 15 m (49 ft) long.

Aura flies in a sun-synchronous orbit, in formation with 6 other satellites, collectively known as the "A Train"; it is last in the formation. The other satellites in the formation are:

All satellites have an equatorial crossing time at about 1:30 in the afternoon, thus the name 'A (Afternoon) Train'.


As of 2015, there had been 1589 Aura-related journal articles. The scientific findings of these studies address key NASA research objectives related to stratospheric composition, air quality, and climate change.[2]

Aura has suffered some minor anomalies that have not proven to be mission ending.

On January 12, 2005, a solar array connector partially "unzipped" losing temperature telemetry and power from part of the solar array. On March 12, 2010, Aura was believed to be struck by a micro-meteor that resulted in the loss of power from one-half of one of the 11 solar panels. Despite the loss of power from these events and other anomalies in the array regulation electronics, resulting in an estimated loss of 25 out of 132 solar strings, the mission is estimated to have ample power capabilities to supply the mission until fuel runs out.[3]


Aura carries four instruments for studies of atmospheric chemistry:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "AURA Satellite details 2004-026A NORAD 28376". N2YO. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Liu, Guosheng (22 June 2015). "NASA Earth Science Senior Review 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  3. ^ Fisher, Dominic (31 August 2016). "Mission Status at Aura Science Team MOWG Meeting" (PDF). Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  4. ^ Schoeberl, M (2011). "Aura Senior Review" (PDF). Retrieved 17 October 2017. 

External links[edit]