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Official NASA Communication release-20070217

Official NASA Communication release-20070217

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Published by NASAdocuments

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Published by: NASAdocuments on Oct 05, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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02.17.07Dwayne Brown/Tabatha ThompsonHeadquarters, Washington202-358-1726/3895George DillerKennedy Space Center, Fla.321-867-2468RELEASE: 07-47NASA'S THEMIS MISSION LAUNCHED TO STUDY GEOMAGNETICSUBSTORMSCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's THEMIS mission successfully launchedSaturday, Feb. 17, at 6:01 p.m. EST from Pad 17-B at Cape CanaveralAir Force Station, Fla.THEMIS stands for the Time History of Events and MacroscaleInteractions during Substorms. It is NASA's first five-satellitemission launched aboard a single rocket. The spacecraft separatedfrom the launch vehicle approximately 73 minutes after liftoff. By8:07 p.m. EST, mission operators at the University of California,Berkeley, commanded and received signals from all five spacecraft,confirming nominal separation status.The mission will help resolve the mystery of what triggers geomagneticsubstorms. Substorms are atmospheric events visible in the NorthernHemisphere as a sudden brightening of the Northern Lights, or auroraborealis. The findings from the mission may help protect commercialsatellites and humans in space from the adverse effects of particleradiation.THEMIS' satellite constellation will line up along the sun-Earth line,collect coordinated measurements, and observe substorms during thetwo-year mission. Data collected from the five identical probes willhelp pinpoint where and when substorms begin, a feat impossible withany previous single-satellite mission."The THEMIS mission will make a breakthrough in our understanding of how Earth's magnetosphere stores and releases energy from the sun andalso will demonstrate the tremendous potential that constellationmissions have for space exploration," said Vassilis Angelopoulos,THEMIS principal investigator at the University of California,Berkeley. "THEMIS' unique alignments also will answer how thesun-Earth interaction is affected by Earth's bow shock, and how'killer electrons' at Earth's radiation belts are accelerated."The Mission Operations Center at the University of California,

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