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NASA Aquarius to launch on Friday

NASA Aquarius: a new NASA instrument called Aquarius is set to study salt levels in the Earth's oceans after launching on Friday.

By Associated Press / June 10, 2011

NASA Aquarius: an artist's conception of the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, a collaboration between NASA and Argentina's space agency, with participation from Brazil, Canada, France and Italy. Aquarius, the NASA-built primary instrument on the spacecraft.

Photo illustration/NASA/AP

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The launch of a rocket carrying an ocean science satellite has been postponed until Friday.

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The Delta 2 rocket was supposed to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, early Thursday, but NASA says an issue involving the rocket's flight plan needs review.

The rocket will put an Argentine-built satellite into orbit 400 miles above the Earth. It will use a NASA instrument called Aquarius to map weekly changes in ocean salt levels.

By learning how salt concentration varies on the ocean surface, scientists hope to better predict future climate change and short-term climate phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina.

Other countries participating in the $400 million mission include Brazil, Canada, France and Italy.

NASA says the weather looks good for a Friday launch.

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