SpaceX Launches DSCOVR Satellite to Warn Us of Extreme Emissions from the Sun


Image Source: SpaceX Blog Post

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocketship has launched its DSCOVR satellite – or Deep Space Climate Observatory, a weather machinery that will help protect the planet from the worst emissions from the Sun. DSCOVR is the result of a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the United States Air Force and will be used to observe and provide advanced warning of extreme emissions from the sun which can affect power grids, communications systems, and satellites close to Earth.

It has been designed to monitor solar storms, and study the effects on satellites, GPS and aviation. Thesatellite has been stuck in storage since around 1999 due to some issues, and in 2013 the US Air Force set aside funds to bring it into use

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The satellite which lifted off 6:03pm ET on Wednesday, also points its cameras back at Earth, monitoring ozone levels and aerosols in the atmosphere. DSCOVR will be positioned at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point, 1,500,000 kilometers (930,000 mi) from Earth and will reach its final orbit 110 days after launch.

The company had planned to recover the rocket Falcon 9 for reuse, but that didn’t go as expected and the rocket had to be soft landed in water 370 miles off the coast of Florida.

While extreme weather prevented SpaceX from attempting to recover the first stage, data shows the first stage successfully soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean within 10 meters of its target.  The vehicle was nicely vertical and the data captured during this test suggests a high probability of being able to land the stage on the drone ship in better weather,” SpaceX wrote in a Blog Post.

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