Weather might delay WISE launch

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This artist's conception shows NASA's WISE spacecraft mapping the whole sky in infrared. (Ball/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

 

The scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge are atwitter this week over the pending launch of the new, $208 million Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), managed by JPL for NASA. 

The WISE spacecraft, which will circle the Earth one-and-a-half times over a nine-month period, is scheduled to be carried into orbit on a Delta II rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. 

But the possible launch-day weather will interfere with plans, according to a NASA report: “The forecast calls for thick clouds, disturbed weather and precipitation, resulting in an 80 percent chance of conditions preventing a launch,” said a statement found on www.nasa.gov today. 

So, local scientists may have to wait until the spacecraft can begin its mission to map the entire sky, cataloging the multiple millions of objects it encounters.

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Written by Carol Cormaci

December 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm

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