WISE Flies on its First Try
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WISE Flies on its First Try

February 17, 2010
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, launched into Earth orbit at 6:09 a.m. PST (9:09 a.m. EST) Dec. 14, 2009, rocketing away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a Delta II launch vehicle.

Once WISE was on its own in orbit, it sent a signal back to Earth through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. With its cooling unit and solar arrays activated, the the 1,485-pound spacecraft was ready to begin its scientific mission.

WISE: Mapping the Infrared Sky From a vantage point 500 km above Earth's surface, WISE will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, creating a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects that will be catalogued and provide a vast storehouse of knowledge about the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe. By the end of its six-month mission, WISE will have taken nearly 1,500,000 pictures covering the entire sky.

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