JPL scientist Amy Mainzer has been blogging the run-up to this morning's launch of a Delta II rocket with NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite on board. She's the deputy project scientist for the mission and has been too busy up at Vandenberg Air Force Base to update, but NASA says the satellite lifted off a little after 6 a.m. and is already sending back signals from polar orbit. Its mission is to "uncover hidden cosmic objects, including the coolest stars, dark asteroids and the most luminous galaxies."
This one has the scientists pretty excited, as USC's Clifford Johnson blogs. Johnson and Mainzer contribute to "The Universe" on the History Channel. UCLA's Edward Wright is principal investigator on the mission.
* Doing her happy dance: Mainzer updates at 3:20 p.m.:
I just couldn’t be any happier! This is the stuff of life. I am doing my happy dance now.
WISE is doing great. We can get telemetry from our bird, and it receives our commands. All the day’s critical events executed flawlessly - the spacecraft detumbled and became power-positive within only 3 minutes of separation from the rocket!
Left photo: NASA TV
Right photo: Asymptotia.com