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Delta II/STEREO launches from Cape Canaveral

A Boeing Delta II lifts off at 8:52 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 from Launch Pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Payload for the mission was NASA's STEREO spacecraft, two NASA observatories on a two-year mission to study solar flares. The 45th Space Wing's support helped ensure public safety and mission success via radar, telemetry, communications and meteorological systems. (Boeing photo by Carleton Bailie)

A Boeing Delta II lifts off at 8:52 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 from Launch Pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Payload for the mission was NASA's STEREO spacecraft, two NASA observatories on a two-year mission to study solar flares. The 45th Space Wing's support helped ensure public safety and mission success via radar, telemetry, communications and meteorological systems. (Boeing photo by Carleton Bailie)

CAPE CANAVERAL AFS, Fla. -- Two NASA observatories called "STEREO" blasted off from here Wednesday night, starting a two-year mission to study solar flares.

A Delta II booster carried these spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 17B, lighting up Space Coast skies and the spirits of launch team members such as Capt. Chin Hiransonboom of the 1st Space Launch Squadron. She served as the Air Force Launch Crew Commander for this mission.
 
Captain Hiransonboom coordinated various requirements between NASA, Boeing and the Air Force. "This was an awesome mission and I'm honored to be part of it," she said. "There are several benefits to be gained from this."

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory or "STEREO" consists of two spacecraft that together comprise the first mission that will take measurements of the sun and solar wind in 3-D.

STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes Program (STP). This two-year mission will provide a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System. The two nearly identical observatories -- one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind -- will trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth as well as reveal the 3-D structure of coronal mass ejections and help us understand why they happen.

The 45th Space Wing's support helped ensure public safety and mission success via radar, telemetry, communications and meteorological systems.

All of us at the 45th Space Wing, as well as our launch partners, take great pride in helping to launch this groundbreaking scientific expedition," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander. "Our congratulations go to NASA for a terrific mission start."