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NASA launches weather satellite

NASA launched a weather satellite that will allow forecasters to better pinpoint severe storms and investigate world climate change.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 11:06 IST

After months of delay, NASA launched a weather satellite that will allow forecasters to better pinpoint severe storms and investigate world climate change.

The GOES-N satellite took off about 3.30 am IST on Thursday on a Boeing Delta 4 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The satellite separated from the rocket as scheduled about 8 am IST on Thursday, putting it on a path for orbit.

The last time a Delta 4 rocket flew - a test flight of the rocket's heavy-lift model in December 2004 - it failed to put a dummy satellite into its intended orbit.

A launch scheduled last August was scrubbed after an alarm indicated low voltage on batteries powering the system that allows the rocket to transmit data to ground stations. The delay was the latest in a series of setbacks dating to last May.

The GOES-N is a step in the development of a family of weather satellites designed and built by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 1975. It is the first in a series of three new satellites.

"It's not revolutionary ... But it has evolutionary improvements," said Steve Kirkner, GOES programme manager for NOAA. "What this will provide is better knowledge ... Better information."

GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.