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US Launches Atlas Rocket With NASA's Spacecraft for Magnetic Field Studies

Sputnik News

05:59 13.03.2015(updated 06:26 13.03.2015)

Atlas V carrier rocket has lifted off from Cape Canaveral with NASA's speacecraft that will study magnetic fields around the Earth.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrier rocket has lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41 with NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Speacecraft (MMS) that will study magnetic fields around the Earth.

'The rocket's two solid rocket boosters exhausted their fuel and separated from the Atlas V. Booster engines are performing well as the first-stage burn continues,' NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) said in its live MMS blog late on Thursday.

According to NASA, the lift-off was completed on-time, at 10:44 p.m. on Thursday (02:00 GMT on Friday).

The MMS mission consists of four identical spacecraft, carrying 25 sensors each. NASA explains on its website that the sensors will be used to gather three-dimensional measurements of a phenomena called magnetic reconnection, which occurs when magnetic field lines realign at high speeds, causing gigantic explosions on the Sun, such as solar flares, and leading to aurora on Earth.

MMS sensors are able to function and gather data at very high speeds, which is crucial to the success of the mission as it will fly though magnetic regions near the Earth in under a second, according to NASA.

MMS is the fourth NASA Solar Terrestrial Probes Program mission.

Sputnik



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