Pegasus Launches SCISAT-1
A joint venture between NASA, Canada's Department of Chemistry and other countries has successfully orbited SCISAT-1, a satellite designed to gather data on the Earth's ozone levels.
At left is the Atomospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) onboard the SCISAT Scientific Satellite
SCISAT-1 was launched at 10:09 p.m. EDT August 12, 2003 from the Pegasus spacecraft. The Orbital Carrier Aircraft (OCA) L-1011 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base and dropped Pegasus to an altitude of approximately 39,0000 feet. Separation occurred at 10:20 pm and SCISAT-1 was placed in orbit in a spectacular feat of engineering and planning.
The Canadian SCISAT spacecraft during testing at the Canadian Space Agency David Florida Laboratory (DFL) in Kanata, Ontario.
The payload consisted of the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) and the Measurement of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation (MAESTRO) instruments. Both are destined to gather information on the way the ozone layer is affected by natural and man-made gas emissions.
SCISAT's two year mission is in a low polar orbit of 650 km (400 miles) and will travel around the Earth 15 times a day taking readings at sunrise and sunset, when the conditions are optimal.
In 1987, Canada became the first country in the world to focus on the Arctic ozone layer, following the discovery of the ozone hole over the Antarctica. The ozone layer around our planet is crucial in blocking harmful ultraviolet rays which threaten our health and well-being.
Sample Launch and Separation System of Orbital Carrier Aircraft (OCA) placing Pegasus in altitude for orbiting SCISAT
Studies have continued for over 50 years to map the depletion of the ozone layer and help us understand how it can be restored and preserved to protect the quality of life of Earth's inhabitants. SCISAT's effectiveness will prove to be invaluable as we learn more about the ozone layer and its effect on us.
For further information please visit:
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center