SpaceX launches DSCOVR spacecraft

Following a three day delay due to a faulty radar and uncooperative weather SpaceX successfully launched the long delayed Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this week.  This was the first deep space mission for SpaceX and the Falcon 9 with the DSCOVR spacecraft travelling to the Sun-Earth Lagrangian Point 1.  Due to severe weather at the landing site SpaceX didn’t send out the Drone Ship and instead did a soft landing in the Ocean.  Data from the attempt was encouraging and the changes to the spacecraft since the last attempt showed that it should have landed successfully.

Instruments

The Plasma-Magnetometer (PlasMag) measures solar wind for space weather predictions. It has 3 instruments:

  • Magnetometer measures magnetic field.
  • Faraday cup measures positively charged particles.
  • Electrostatic analyzer measures electrons.

300px-Deep_Space_Climate_Observatory_spacecraft_diagramNational Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR) measures irradiance of the sunlit face of the Earth. This data is to be used to study changes in Earth’s radiation budget caused by natural and human activities.

The radiometer measures in four channels:

  • For total radiation in ultraviolet, visible and infrared in range of 0.2-100 µm.
  • For reflected solar radiation in ultraviolet, visible and near infrared in range of 0.2-4 µm.
  • For reflected solar radition in infrared in range of 0.7-4 µm.
  • For calibration purposes in range of 0.3-1 µm.

The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) takes images of the sunlit side of Earth for various Earth sciences purposes, in 10 different channels from ultraviolet to near infrared.

See the launch here

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