Air Force supports launch of NASA mission to Mars
8/6/2007 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFPN) -- Members of the 45th Space Wing from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., supported Aug. 4's successful launch from here of a NASA probe that will study Mars.
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander was launched at 5:26 a.m. Eastern time aboard a Delta II booster from Space Launch Complex 17-A at Cape Canaveral.
Several units across the 45th SW played vital roles including providing weather forecasts, assisting with media relations and safety support. The wing also provided a vast network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation that helped facilitate a safe launch.
After a 422 million-mile journey, the Phoenix spacecraft should arrive in May 2008. It is scheduled to land in the arctic region of northern Mars and attempt to answer questions such as: Can the Martian arctic support life? What is the history of water at the polar landing site? How is the Martian climate affected by polar seasonal change?
"This launch was a great start for what should be a very exciting mission," said Brig. Gen. Susan J. Helms, the 45th SW commander. "Our Air Force launch crews effectively teamed with our NASA and contractor mission partners. We wish NASA continued success as the Phoenix spacecraft helps unlock the secrets of the red planet."
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