Wednesday, June 05, 2024

NASA PREFIRE & ICE Earth Science Mission Launch | Rocket Lab

NASA PREFIRE & ICE Earth Science Mission Launch Rocket Lab

Launch of PREFIRE and Ice from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1
Electron rocket's Rutherford engines at liftoff
Liftoff of PREFIRE and Ice
Electron rocket for the NASA PREFIRE Mission
Electron rocket on the pad at Launch Complex 1
Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1
PREFIRE & Ice Mission patch

'PREFIRE and Ice' was the second of two back-to-back dedicated Electron launches for NASA's PREFIRE mission (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment).

The ‘PREFIRE and Ice’ Mission was launched on June 5th, 2024 from Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand—just eleven days after the first PREFIRE launch, ‘Ready, Aim, PREFIRE,’ was successfully launched on May 25th, 2024 from the same launch site.

NASA’s PREFIRE Mission consists of two shoebox-size cube satellites that will measure the amount of heat Earth radiates into space from Earth’s poles. Data from the PREFIRE Mission will help researchers better predict how Earth’s ice, seas, and weather will change in a warming world.

 At the heart of the PREFIRE mission is Earth’s energy budget—the balance between incoming heat energy from the Sun and the outgoing heat given off by the planet. The difference between the two is what determines the planet’s temperature and climate. Much of the heat radiated from the Arctic and Antarctica is emitted as far-infrared radiation, but there is currently no detailed measurement of this type of energy. The water vapor content of the atmosphere, along with the presence, structure, and composition of clouds, influences the amount of far-infrared radiation that escapes into space from Earth’s poles. Data collected from PREFIRE will give researchers information on where and when far-infrared energy radiates from the Arctic and Antarctic environments into space.

For more information:

Image Credit: Rocket Lab

Image Dates: June 1-5, 2024

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