spacecraft that will gather images of the magnetic field around the Earth was
launched today aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.

The Delta II lifted off the launch pad at 12:34 p.m. PST, carrying the
Imager Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft.
Almost 56 minutes after liftoff, IMAGE separated from the upper stage of the
Delta II to insert itself into an orbit 621 by 28,503 miles (1,000 by
45.871 kilometers) above the Earth.

“Boeing is continuing as a partner with NASA in expanding mankind’s
knowledge of the Earth, our solar system and the surrounding universe,” said
Darryl Van Dorn, Boeing director of commercial and NASA Delta programs.
“Delta expendable launch vehicles have launched Mars probes for NASA,
astronomical observatories, space physics satellites and planetary

The NASA-led IMAGE mission will provide global images of plasmas in the
Earth’s magnetosphere, showing how they are affected by the intense
fluctuating streams of charged particles from the sun, called the solar wind.
Resulting space storms disturb the plant’s magnetic field and can damage
spacecraft, disrupt communication satellites and cause electrical power

The principal investigator institution for the IMAGE mission, Southwest
Research Institute, contracted Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space to build the

Delta II is a medium capacity expendable launch vehicle derived from the
Delta family of rockets built and launched since 1960.
The Delta II rocket is
manufactured in Huntington Beach, Calif., with final assembly in Pueblo,
Colo., and is powered by the RS-27A engine built by Boeing in Canoga Park,
Calif. Launch coordination and operations for the NASA mission was provided by
the Delta launch team at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Alliant Techsystems, Magna, Utah, builds the graphite epoxy motors for
boost assist.
Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., manufactures the second-stage
engine; Cordant Technologies, Elkton, Md., supplies the upper stage engine,
and L3 Communications Space & Navigation, Teterboro, N.J., builds the guidance
and flight control system.