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SAGE III collected this preliminary data over the western desert of Iraq from its perch on the exterior of the space station. The instrument measured ozone levels from the mesosphere, stratosphere and through most of the troposphere, as clouds permitted. The relative smoothness of the profile line reflects the quality of the data.NASA

An instrument -- Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III -- was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this February to accumulate atmospheric data.

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 Here's all you need to know about SAGE III:

1. This device was developed at NASA's Langley Research Center located in Hampton, Virginia.

2. The instrument is situated on the exterior of the ISS and its task was to collect the preliminary data images above Iraq's western desert.

3. The ozone levels are scaled by SAGE III from the different layers of Earth's atmosphere which include -- mesosphere, stratosphere and through most of the troposphere. The quality of the data depends on the presence of clouds.

4. The main task of the device is to administer the recovery of the ozone layer. This would aid in safeguarding Earth from cancer-triggering and crop damaging UV rays. The public will be provided with more inclusive data package by the year-end.

5. "The ISS program congratulates the SAGE III team on the achievement of this critical milestone, and we are pleased to contribute to the continuation of the SAGE dataset of ozone measurements as the hosting platform for the instrument, which likewise demonstrates the usefulness of the ISS as a remote sensing platform," said William Stefanov, associate space station program scientist for Earth observations, as quoted by a NASA statement.

6. SAGE III instrument is the developed version of the ozone SAGE I, which was launched in 1979. Sage II was launched in 1984 on board the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite. The information collected by the instrument had aided the Montreal Protocol – an international treaty which banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons which deplete ozone.

7. "It is great to see the rewards of all the hard work that the engineers, scientists, and operators have put into getting SAGE III built and now operating," said Brooke Thornton, SAGE III mission operations manager, as per a NASA statement. "We are already receiving excellent data and look forward to continuing to monitor the ozone from the space station," Thornton said.