WISE Launch

    Spacecraft: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)
    Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II 7320
    Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base - SLC 2
    Launch Date: Dec. 14, 2009
    Launch Time: 6:09 a.m. PST (9:09 a.m. EST)

    WISE Flies on its First Try

    Delta II launches WISE spacecraft. Image above: United Launch Alliance's Delta II rocket lifts off carrying NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite toward space. Image credit: United Launch Alliance/Bill Hartenstein
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    NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, launched into Earth orbit at 6:09 a.m. PST (9:09 a.m. EST) Dec. 14, 2009, rocketing away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a Delta II launch vehicle.

    Once WISE was on its own in orbit, it sent a signal back to Earth through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. With its cooling unit and solar arrays activated, the the 1,485-pound spacecraft was ready to begin its scientific mission.

    WISE: Mapping the Infrared Sky
    From a vantage point 500 km above Earth's surface, WISE will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, creating a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects that will be catalogued and provide a vast storehouse of knowledge about the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe. By the end of its six-month mission, WISE will have taken nearly 1,500,000 pictures covering the entire sky.
    › In Search of Dark Asteroids (and Other Sneaky Things)

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Launch Control Center


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Mission Extras

  • Amy Mainzer in infrared

    WISE - Your Guide to the Infrared Sky

    Learn about NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and all the goodies it is expected to uncover in this new, interactive feature.

  • WISE Webcast

    WISE Webcast

    Go behind the scenes to see how the Delta II rocket and the WISE space telescope are prepared for launch on this exciting mission to view space through infrared eyes.

  • Worker with the WISE spacecraft in the clean room.

    WISE Image Gallery

    Spacecraft and rocket come together for launch.

  • Rocket Science 101

    Rocket Science 101

    Assemble a Delta II or Atlas V rocket from main engine to payload fairing!

    › Build a Rocket