The House Science Committee approved an infrastructure bill that provides an additional $173 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to accelerate the development and launch of the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange-1 (SWFO-L1) mission. The spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2024, will monitor the solar wind and coronal mass ejections from the Earth-sun L-1 Lagrange point.
WASHINGTON (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, which had been offline for about nine months due to a technical glitch, is fully operational again, agency experts said today.
On June 27, 2019, issues with the satellite’s attitude control system prompted engineers to place DSCOVR into a “safe hold.” That maneuver halted the flow of all science observations, including imagery from NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). The high-powered camera takes full-disk images of the Earth used for global monitoring of clouds and vegetation, as well as atmospheric ozone and aerosols.
Tne failures of three aging satellites the United States relies upon to forecast space weather could leave the nation partially blind to electromagnetic storms that could severely disrupt electrical grids, communications systems, aviation and Global Positioning System (GPS) dependent navigation.
“The observations that we rely on to provide alerts and warnings are critical. Should we lose some of the key spacecraft that we talk about, I won’t say we’re blind but we’re darn close. It will impact our ability to support this nation’s need for space weather services. And I don’t want to see that happen,” said William Murtagh, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.