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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 8:29 EDT

DSCOVR Mission On Track For 2015 Launch

September 11, 2013
Image Caption: Solar Flares captured by GOES 15 SXI. Credit: NOAA

NASA

The development of NOAA’s upcoming Deep Space Climate Observatory known as DSCOVR, a satellite designed to monitor and warn of harmful solar activity that could impact Earth, last week cleared a major review and is on track to launch by early 2015.

The Key Decision Point C Review was conducted by the joint NASA-NOAA Program Management Council reviewed the complete budget and development plans for DSCOVR through launch to its end of life. Passing the review allows the NASA DSCOVR project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to proceed with the implementation phase and continue the development of the spacecraft and its ground segment.

DSCOVR will orbit at the L1 libration point — where the sun’s and Earth’s gravitational pull cancels – approximately one million miles away from Earth towards the sun. At that location, the satellite will measure solar storms before they reach the planet.

The DSCOVR mission is a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

NOAA will operate the DSCOVR mission, giving advanced warning of approaching solar storms with the potential to cripple electrical grids, communications, GPS navigation, air travel, satellite operations and human spaceflight. Experts estimate damages from these types of severe solar storms could range between $1- $2 trillion.

NASA, using NOAA funds, refurbished the DSCOVR satellite and instruments, which had been in storage for several years. NASA is also developing the ground system to be used to operate the DSCOVR satellite. The U.S. Air Force is providing the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle for DSCOVR mission.

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Source: NASA