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Aura (Latin for breeze) was launched July 15, 2004. The design life is five years with an operational goal of six years. Aura flies in formation about 15 minutes behind Aqua. Aura is part of the Earth Observing System (EOS), a program dedicated to monitoring the complex interactions that affect the globe using NASA satellites and data systems. EOS-Aura's instruments are HIRDLS, MLS, OMI and TES.
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The Aura spacecraft was launched into a near polar, sun-synchronous orbit with a period of approximately 100 minutes. The spacecraft repeats its ground track every 16 days to provide atmospheric measurements over virtually every point on the Earth in a repeatable pattern, permitting assessment of atmospheric phenomena changes in the same geographic locations throughout the life of the mission. The Aura spacecraft is designed for a six-year lifetime. The spacecraft orbits at 705 km in a sun-synchronous orbit (98 deg inclination) with a 1:45 PM +/- 15 minute equator crossing time. Aura limb instruments are all designed to observe roughly along the orbit plane. MLS is on the front of the spacecraft (the forward velocity direction) while HIRDLS, TES and OMI are mounted on the nadir side. EOS Aura's Instruments, HIRDLS, MLS, OMI, and TES contain advanced technologies that have been developed for use on environmental satellites. Each instrument provides unique and complementary capabilities that will enable daily global observations of Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, air quality, and key climate parameters.
|NASA aura website|