NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory mission is scheduled to launch this evening from Cape Canaveral, weather permitting. The DSCOVR satellite will orbit the sun in order to monitor solar wind that could affect our planet. Solar wind is highly variable, as it can lead to beautiful auroras, but can also impact electrical power grids. DSCOVR will replace the outdated Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite which was launched into orbit in 1997 (Capital Weather Gang).
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 9, 2015
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) February 10, 2015
The new satellite will be able to notify those of us on Earth 15 to 60 minutes before a coronal mass ejection reaches our planet. Here is what NOAA had to say in regards to the importance of the DSCOVR mission:
“[S]pace weather has demonstrated the potential to disrupt virtually every major public infrastructure system, including transportation systems, power grids, telecommunications and GPS,” says NOAA. “Our national security and economic well-being, which depend on advanced technologies, are at significant risk without accurate advanced warnings of impending geomagnetic storms.”