More than 100 days after launch, NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite reached its orbit position about 1 million miles from Earth. It will be the United States’ first operational space-weather satellite in deep space.
DSCOVR will enable NOAA’s space-weather forecasters to predict geomagnetic storm magnitude on a regional basis. Geomagnetic storms occur when plasma and magnetic fields streaming from the sun impact Earth’s magnetic field. Large magnetic eruptions from the sun can bring major disruptions to power grids, aviation, telecommunications and GPS navigation systems.
“DSCOVR will trigger early warnings whenever it detects a surge of energy that could cause a geomagnetic storm that could bring possible damaging impacts for Earth,” said Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.
In addition to space-weather instruments, DSCOVR is carrying two NASA Earth-observing instruments that will gather measurements ranging from ozone and aerosol amounts to changes in Earth’s radiation budget, which affects climate.
The DSCOVR mission is a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force, which provided the Space X Falcon 9 launch vehicle. NOAA will operate DSCOVR from its NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md., and process the space-weather data at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. Data will be archived at NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information.