NASA Answers Question About New ‘DSCOVR’ Mission

By  //  February 6, 2015

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WILL LAUNCH FROM Cape Canaveral

ABOVE VIDEO: The Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite mission, better known as DSCOVR, will monitor the constant stream of charged particles from the sun, also called “Solar Winds.” These observations are the backbone of NOAA space weather alerts and forecasts.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Feb. 8 at 6:10 p.m. EDT and is a joint mission with NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

nasa-180Recently, the following representatives from each partner agency provided answers to questions: Doug Whiteley, deputy director, Office of Systems Development, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service; Douglas Biesecker, DSCOVR program scientist, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center; and Richard Eckman, NASA DSCOVR program scientist.

From its orbit one million miles away from Earth near the Earth-Sun line, the DSCOVR spacecraft will provide critical data necessary for NOAA space weather forecasters to issue timely and accurate warnings of solar storms that have the potential to disrupt major public infrastructure systems such as power grids, telecommunications, aviation and GPS.

Q: Is this an operational or research satellite?   

A: DSCOVR’s primary mission is space weather. It is an operational mission for NOAA while the NASA instruments have more of a science role. The NASA instruments are research oriented.

Q: How long is the DSCOVR mission? 

A:  It is planned for a 2-year mission with fuel that can last 5 years.

Q:  What frequency of space weather events require responses?

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A: DSCOVR will be looking for high-speed solar winds that can cause problems and damages to satellites. Space weather from CMEs cause most damage. Storms are fairly common, but warnings help reduce impacts.

Q: Can you give an example of widely-felt CME impact?

A: One CME event affected an aviation system and changed way aircraft approaches are done. Another system was knocked off line for months. The Carrington event (1859) caused massive damage to the telegraph system of the day, and would be devastating today to modern computer systems and the power grid without early warning.

Q: Is this an operational or research satellite?   

A: DSCOVR’s primary mission is space weather. It is an operational mission for NOAA while the NASA instruments have more of a science role. The NASA instruments are research oriented.

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Q: How long is the DSCOVR mission? 

A:  It is planned for a 2-year mission with fuel that can last 5 years.

Q:  What frequency of space weather events require responses?

A: DSCOVR will be looking for high-speed solar winds that can cause problems and damages to satellites. Space weather from CMEs cause most damage. Storms are fairly common, but warnings help reduce impacts.

Q: Can you give an example of widely-felt CME impact?

A: One CME event affected an aviation system and changed way aircraft approaches are done. Another system was knocked off line for months. The Carrington event (1859) caused massive damage to the telegraph system of the day, and would be devastating today to modern computer systems and the power grid without early warning.


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