Launch of the Aura spacecraft, USA, 15 July 2004.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
The Aura spacecraft, atop the Boeing Delta II rocket, successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California on July 15, 2004. Aura, NASA's latest Earth-observing satellite, was designed to help us understand and protect the air we breathe. Three key scientific questions are: Is the Earth's protective ozone layer recovering? What are the processes controlling air quality? How is the Earth's climate changing? Aura also provided information on how the composition of the atmosphere affects and responds to Earth's changing climate. The results from this mission enabled scientists to better understand the processes that connect local and global air quality.