NASA’s GOLD mission continues despite launch anomaly

Posted: January 26, 2018 by oldbrew in atmosphere, physics, research, satellites, solar system dynamics

The GOLD mission to learn more about the Earth’s ionosphere ran into comms problems after launch yesterday and may take longer than expected to reach its required orbit height. NASA’s own publicity says: “Just like an infrared camera allows you to see how temperatures change with different colors, GOLD images ultraviolet light to provide a map of the Earth that reveals how temperature and atmospheric composition change by location”.

NASA has reported that despite a glitch within minutes of its GOLD mission launch, the satellite is communicating with control systems, reports the Indian Express.

The aim of the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, mission is to study the dynamic region where space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere meet.

“The launcher’s liftoff took place on January 25, 2018, at 5:20 pm EST. A few seconds after ignition of the upper stage, the second tracking station located in Natal, Brazil, did not acquire the launcher telemetry. This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight,” Arianespace said in the statement.

“Subsequently, both satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and they are on orbit. SES-14 and Al Yah 3 are communicating with their respective control centres. Both missions are continuing,” the statement added.

The GOLD mission aims to explore in unprecedented detail our near-space environment, which is home to astronauts, radio signals used to guide airplanes and ships, and satellites that provide communications and GPS systems.

“The more we know about the fundamental physics of this region of space, the more we can protect our assets there,” NASA said. “The upper atmosphere is far more variable than previously imagined, but we don’t understand the interactions between all the factors involved,” Richard Eastes, GOLD principal investigator from the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a statement.

“That’s where GOLD comes in: For the first time, the mission gives us the big picture of how different drivers meet and influence each other,” Eastes added.

Source: The Indian Express

  1. oldbrew says:

    LONG-DEAD SPACECRAFT WAKES UP: In 2005, a NASA spacecraft named “IMAGE” mysteriously went silent, abruptly ending a successful mission to study Earth’s magnetosphere. Thirteen years later, it’s back. On Jan. 20, 2018, an amateur astronomer in Canada picked up radio transmissions from IMAGE, alive after all. The satellite may have been chattering away at Earth for years unheard and unnoticed. Now NASA is working to regain contact and possibly revive a key asset for space weather research and nowcasting. Visit today’s edition of for the full story.

  2. oldbrew says:

    NASA’s GOLD powers on for the first time
    January 29, 2018 by Rob Garner, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    GOLD will investigate the dynamic intermingling of space and Earth’s uppermost atmosphere and seek to understand what drives change in this critical region. Resulting data will improve forecasting models of the space weather events that can impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

    Read more at: