A Delta II rocket carrying the NASA satellite lifted off shortly before 6 a.m. EDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The satellite was deployed into an orbit 500 miles above Earth about an hour after launch.
The satellite joins a fleet already circling the planet, collecting information about the atmosphere, oceans and land. The latest — about the size of a small SUV — is more advanced. It carries four new instruments capable of making more precise observations.
Tim Dunn, a launch director for NASA, said in streaming commentary on the agency's website that the flight "went terrific" and there "is a lot of celebration in control room right now."
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