30th Space Wing Public Affairs

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, or IMAGE, satellite for NASA and the Southwest Research Institute aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket here March 25.
The rocket will launch from NASA’s Space Launch Complex Two. The launch window extends from 12:34 p.m. until 12:42 p.m. PST.
As the first satellite dedicated to imaging Earth’s magnetosphere, the IMAGE satellite navigates through the region of space that contains slender plasmas of both solar and terrestrial origin. The spin-stabilized satellite will produce the first extensive global images of plasma in the inner magnetosphere. The satellite will employ various imaging techniques to acquire these previously unseen fields.
Images from each of the eight instruments will be available to the entire space science community via the Internet within one day of data acquisition.
IMAGE will be placed into an elliptical polar orbit, completing an orbit of the Earth every 13.5 hours. The spacecraft will pass through all local time zones twice during the course of its two-year primary mission. The elliptical orbit will maximize the amount of time the satellite is traveling at higher altitudes, affording the best perspective for global imaging.