A Canadian satellite designed to monitor the depletion of the ozone layer was launched from an airplane off the California coast. The Canadian Space Agency’s Scientific Satellite, or Scisat, was launched on Tuesday evening when a Pegasus XL rocket carrying it was dropped from the belly of an L-1011 jet aircraft flying at 11,700 metres. After five seconds of free fall, the first of the rocket’s three stages ignited and began carrying the satellite into space. As the rocket roared toward the heavens, its contrail could be seen across a wide area of the California coast. Scisat’s instruments were designed to improve understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, with an emphasis on changes occurring over Canada and the Arctic. The instruments will focus on the chemical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the atmosphere. The 150-kg satellite was designed to last two years, orbiting the Earth 15 times a day. Depletion of the ozone layer is of concern since the layer offers protection from ultraviolet rays. Increased exposure to UV radiation can cause skin cancer, eye damage and other health problems.
Source: The Hindu