DSCOVR successfully launched, SDO 5 years in space

Thursday, 12 February 2015 - 00:18 UTC

DSCOVR successfully launched, SDO 5 years in space

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite was successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 11 February, 2015.

Image: The Falcon 9 rocket carrying DSCOVR just moments after launch. Credit: NASA TV.

DSCOVR was launched at 23:03 UTC and everything went according to plan, no problems have been reported. NOAA just issued a statement where it reported that the DSCOVR's solar arrays have deployed and that it is communicating with the ground. It's in good health and on its way to beginning its mission. DSCOVR will now begin a 115 day long journey to Lagrangian point 1 where it will replace NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) which was launched in 1997 as the primary solar wind observing space weather satellite. It's task will be to give us a 15 to 60 minute lead time on geomagnetic storm warnings.

Image: L1 orbit diagram. Credit: NOAA.

SDO 5 years in space

It is not just DSCOVR that is getting everyone's attention. It was yesterday exactly 5 years ago that NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched into space. In honor of SDO's fifth anniversary, NASA has released a video showcasing highlights from the last five years of sun watching. Watch the movie to see giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the sun's surface. Congratulations SDO!

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