GoreSat Is Back

Keith's note: According to the Senate Armed Services Committee report on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 Triana (aka "DSCOVR" or "GoreSat") is back: "The Air Force is very interested in the space weather information and is part of an interagency team looking at the possibility of refurbishing DSCOVR and launching it to an orbit referred to as L1, about one million miles from Earth on a line with the Sun. If the team determines that the satellite can be refurbished and launched, they will make a recommendation to the President. Notionally, NOAA and NASA would pay for refurbishing the satellite, the Air Force would pay for the launch, and all agencies would receive the data."

Full report excerpt below:


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010 REPORT 11135

Page 166 "Deep Space Climate Observatory

The committee is aware of a satellite that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) built in 2000 but was never launched. The satellite, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), was put into storage in 2001. The satellite would measure solar wind data, important to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Air Force, and other agencies including the Department of Homeland Security. The satellite was stored with two of the three sensors that would be needed for solar wind measurements. NOAA is also looking at the possibility of adding additional earth observation sensors. There is a critical need for the geomagnetic storm information that the DSCOVR could provide as the current satellite that provides this information was built in 1997, and has long ago exceeded its design life. The geomagnetic storm information is particularly useful to provide sufficient warning to utility companies and satellite operators to execute timely procedures to protect their assets. A sudden magnetic storm in 1989 caused the collapse of the electrical distribution grid over the entire province of Quebec, Canada.

DSCOVR was removed from storage at the end of last year, and went through a series of tests to determine its status and condition. NOAA and NASA have recently determined that although there were some concerns the condition was generally good. NOAA and NASA believe that DSCOVR, with some upgrading and modification, would be suitable to fly.

The Air Force is very interested in the space weather information and is part of an interagency team looking at the possibility of refurbishing DSCOVR and launching it to an orbit referred to as L1, about one million miles from Earth on a line with the Sun. If the team determines that the satellite can be refurbished and launched, they will make a recommendation to the President. Notionally, NOAA and NASA would pay for refurbishing the satellite, the Air Force would pay for the launch, and all agencies would receive the data.

The committee supports this effort to ensure that there is no gap in the critical national need for space weather information and directs the Air Force to inform the congressional defense committees, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce of the outcome of the study along with the cost of the launch as soon as the study is completed."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 23, 2009 4:48 PM.

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