A Boeing Delta II booster was launched successfully from Vandenberg AFB, California on 21 November carrying NASA's $178 million EO-1 New Millennium Earth observation satellite.

The first of three New Millennium EO satellites, it carries an advanced land imager, hyper-spectral imager and a linear imaging spectrometer to compensate for atmospheric distortion.


Also on board was the $45 million Argentine SAC-C research satellite. SAC carries 11 science experiments designed to study the Earth's surface, atmosphere and magnetic field with instruments provided by NASA, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, France and Italy. Delta also carried a 6kg (13.2lb) Swedish nanosatellite, Munin, to collect various data on auroral activity.

The launch marked the first use of Astrium's 336kg carbon fibre reinforced plastic-skinned aluminium Dual Payload Attach Fitting. This allows two primary payloads to be launched together. Until now, Delta II has only been able to carry single primary payloads or multiple small constellation satellites.

Meanwhile, the Delta II launch of the NASA Genesis Discovery solar wind mission has been delayed from 10 February 2001 to early June, to allow Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers to concentrate on the April 2001 Mars Odyssey mission.

Source: Flight International