In Building 1555 on North Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians carry the separation system, at left, toward the AIM spacecraft hovering above the stand at right. AIM, which stands for Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, is being prepared for integrated testing and a flight simulation. The AIM spacecraft will fly three instruments designed to study polar mesospheric clouds located at the edge of space, 50 miles above the Earth's surface in the coldest part of the planet's atmosphere. The mission's primary goal is to explain why these clouds form and what has caused them to become brighter and more numerous and appear at lower latitudes in recent years. AIM's results will provide the basis for the study of long-term variability in the mesospheric climate and its relationship to global climate change. AIM is scheduled to be mated to its launch vehicle, Orbital Sciences' Pegasus XL, during the second week of April, after which final inspections will be conducted. Launch is scheduled for April 25.