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Delta launches space science satellites
Posted: Thu, Oct 26, 2006, 8:06 AM ET (1206 GMT)
Delta 2 launch of STEREO (Boeing) A Delta 2 rocket launched a pair of NASA spacecraft Wednesday night on a mission to study solar activity. The Delta 2 7925 lifted off from pad 17B at Cape Canaveral at 8:52 pm EDT Wednesday (0052 GMT Thursday) and placed the two Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft into a transfer orbit 25 minutes later. The two spacecraft will go into separate solar orbits after a lunar flyby in mid-December, with one, STEREO Ahead, taking a position ahead of the Earth, and the other, STEREO Behind, into an Earth-trailing orbit. The $550-million mission is designed to study coronal mass ejections (CMEs), powerful solar storms that can disrupt electrical grids and communications on Earth and damage spacecraft. The launch had been scheduled for earlier this year but was delayed by technical issues, including concerns about the fuel tank in the Delta's second stage.
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