Deep Space Climate Observatory
Artist's rendering of DSCOVR
|Mission type||Solar research|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||February 11, 2015, 23:03UTC|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 v1.1|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-40|
Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) (formerly known as Triana, unofficially known as GoreSat) is a NOAA Earth observation and space weather satellite launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle on 11 February 2015 from Cape Canaveral.
It was originally developed as a NASA satellite proposed in 1998 by then-Vice President Al Gore for the purpose of Earth observation. It is intended to be positioned at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point, 1,500,000 kilometres (930,000 mi) from Earth, to monitor variable solar wind condition, provide early warning of approaching coronal mass ejections and observe phenomena on Earth including changes in ozone, aerosols, dust and volcanic ash, cloud height, vegetation cover and climate. At this location it will have a continuous view of the Sun and the sunlit side of the Earth. The satellite is planned to orbit the Sun-Earth L1 point in a six-month period, with a spacecraft-Earth-Sun angle varying from 4 to 15 degrees. It will take full-Earth pictures about every two hours and be able to process them faster than other Earth observation satellites.
Originally known as Triana, named after Rodrigo de Triana, the first of Columbus's crew to sight land in the Americas, the satellite's original purpose was to provide a near-continuous view of the entire Earth and make that live image available via the Internet. Gore hoped not only to advance science with these images, but also to raise awareness of the Earth itself, updating the influential The Blue Marble photograph taken by Apollo 17. In addition to an imaging camera, a radiometer would take the first direct measurements of how much sunlight is reflected and emitted from the whole Earth (albedo). This data could constitute a barometer for the process of global warming. The scientific goals expanded to measure the amount of solar energy reaching Earth, cloud patterns, weather systems, monitor the health of Earth's vegetation, and track the amount of UV light reaching the surface through the ozone layer.
In 1999, NASA's Inspector General reported that "the basic concept of the Triana mission was not peer reviewed", and "Triana's added science may not represent the best expenditure of NASA's limited science funding." The Bush Administration put the project on hold shortly after George W. Bush's inauguration. Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences whether the project was worthwhile.[when?] The resulting report stated that the mission was "strong and scientifically vital."
Triana was removed from its original launch opportunity on STS-107 (the ill-fated Columbia mission in 2003). The $100 million satellite remained in storage for the duration of the Bush administration. In November 2008 the satellite was removed from storage and began recertification for a possible launch on board a Delta II or a Falcon 9. Al Gore used part of his book Our Choice (2009) as an attempt to revive debate on the DSCOVR payload. The book mentions legislative efforts by Senators Barbara Mikulski and Bill Nelson to get the satellite launched. NASA renamed the satellite Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), in an attempt to regain support for the project. In February 2011, the Obama administration attempted to secure funding to re-purpose the DSCOVR spacecraft as a solar observatory to replace the aging Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft.
In September 2013 NASA cleared DSCOVR to proceed to the implementation phase targeting an early 2015 launch which had been announced in December 2012 would be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is providing management and systems engineering to the mission.
Launch attempt history
|Attempt||Planned||Result||Turnaround||Reason||Decision point||Weather go (%)||Notes|
|1||8 Feb 2015, 11:10:00 pm||scrubbed||---||technical||(T02:30:00)||>90||range issues: tracking, first stage video transmitter issues noted|
|2||10 Feb 2015, 11:04:49 pm||scrubbed||1 day, 23 hours, 55 minutes||weather||80||upper level winds at the launch pad exceeded 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph) at 25,000 feet (7,600 m)|
|3||11 Feb 2015, 11:03:32 pm||success||0 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes||>90|
Post-launch flight test
For only the second time ever, SpaceX announced they would attempt to conduct a test flight where they attempt to bring the booster rocket back through the atmosphere and land the nearly-empty first stage on a 90-by-50-meter (300 ft × 160 ft) floating platform called Just Read the Instructions.
However, in a statement by SpaceX, the drone ship was in conditions "with waves reaching up to three stories in height crashing over the decks". Additionally, one of the four thrusters which keep the barge in a constant position had malfunctioned, making station-keeping difficult. Due to these factors, the post-launch flight test will not involve the barge, but instead attempt a soft landing over water.
In October 2014, SpaceX had revealed that the ship was being built for SpaceX, and by mid-December, the ship was docked in Jacksonville, Florida, ready to go to sea to support the first test flight landing attempt which was made on 10 January. While many test objectives were achieved—including precision control of the rocket's descent to land on the platform at a specific point in the south Atlantic ocean and a large amount of test data was obtained from that first use of grid fin control surfaces for more precise reentry positioning—the first attempt to land on the floating platform was not successful.
Relative to the early January test, the booster return test on DSCOVR was much more challenging, especially in atmospheric reentry due to the deep space nature of the Earth-Sun L1 launch trajectory for DSCOVR. SpaceX expected deceleration-force loads to be twice as high, and rocket heating to quadruple, over the reentry conditions on Falcon 9 Flight 14.
DSCOVR has launch mass of approximately 570 kg. The main science instrument sets are Sun observing PlasMag, Earth observing NISTAR and EPIC. DSCOVR has two deployable solar arrays, a propulsion module, boom, and antenna.
- Magnetometer measures magnetic field.
- Faraday cup measures positively charged particles.
- Electrostatic analyzer measures electrons.
National 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. Ozone and aerosol levels will be monitored, as well as cloud dynamics, properties of the land and vegetations. 
- Mellow, Craig (August 2014). "Al Gore’s Satellite". Air & Space/Smithsonian. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Boyle, Alan (10 February 2015). "SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9's DSCOVR Launch (Again) Due to Winds". NBCNews. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- "DSCOVR Mission Hosts Two NASA Earth-Observing Instruments". NOAA Satellite and Information Service. US Federal Government. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Phillips, Ari. "A Sneak Peek at NASA’s New Satellite That has Been 16 Years in the Making", ThinkProgress, February 4, 2015
- Leary, Warren (June 1, 1999). "Politics Keeps a Satellite Earthbound". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
- "Assessment of the Triana Mission, G-99-013, Final Report". Office of Inspector General. NASA. September 10, 1999. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- Donahue, Bill (April 7, 2011). "Who killed the Deep Space Climate Observatory?". Popular Science. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "NASA's Triana Mission Scientific Evaluation Completed". Earth Observatory: Media Alerts Archive. NASA. March 8, 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-03.[dead link]
- "Mothballed satellite sits in warehouse, waits for new life". March 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- "NEWS: Triana/DSCOVR Spacecraft Successfully Revived from Mothballs". February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
- Our Choice, 2009, Al Gore, ch. 17.
- "NOAA taps DSCOVR satellite for space weather mission". February 21, 2011.
- "DSCOVR Mission Moves Forward to 2015 Launch". 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "Spacex awarded two EELV-class missions from the United States Air Force". SpaceX. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "SpaceX DISCOVR launch scrubbed".
- Graham, William (8 February 2015). "SpaceX Falcon 9 ready for DSCOVR mission". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Bergin, Chris (2014-12-17). "SpaceX confirms CRS-5 launch slip to January 6". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2014-12-24.
- Wall, Mike (11 February 2015). "SpaceX Won't Try Rocket Landing on Drone Ship After Satellite Launch Today". Space.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Foust, Jeff (25 October 2014). "Next Falcon 9 Launch Could See First-stage Platform Landing". Space News. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
- Clark, Stephen (16 December 2014). "Photos: SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
- Clark, Stephen (10 January 2015). "Dragon successfully launched, rocket recovery demo crash lands". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- Musk, Elon. "Rocket reentry will be much tougher this time around due to deep space mission". SpaceX. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Spacecraft and Instruments". NOAA. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "NOAA Satellite and Information Service Deep Space Climate Observatory ( DSCOVR ) PLASMA - M AGNETOMETER (PlasMag)". NOAA. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "NOAA Satellite and Information Service Deep Space Climate Observatory ( DSCOVR ) N ATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS & TECHNOLOGY ADVANCED RADIOMETER (NIST AR )". NOAA. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "NOAA Satellite and Information Service Deep Space Climate Observatory ( DSCOVR ) ENHANCED POLYCHROMATIC IMAGING CAMERA (EPIC)". NOAA. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- NOAA DSCOVR Home Page DSCOVR: Deep Space Climate Observatory Home Page
- Vice President Gore challenges NASA to build a new satellite to provide live images of Earth from outer space White House press release, March 13, 1998
- ARL-SCRIPPS Atmospheric Research Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
- Deep Space Climate Observatory site at NASA Langley
- NASA DSCOVR NASA Science page
- Review of Scientific Aspects of the NASA Triana Mission National Research Council Report, March 3, 2000
- Politics puts $100 Million Satellite on Ice, The Orlando Sentinel, July 15, 2001
- Scorched Earth Robert L. Park, New York Times, January 15, 2006
- Re-Politicizing Triana, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, January 15, 2006
- Who Killed The Deep Space Climate Observatory?, Popular Science, April 6, 2011