Al Yah 3, SES-14 (NASA GOLD) - Ariane 5 ECA (VA241) - Kourou ELA-3 - январь 2018 г.

Автор tnt22, 16.11.2017 13:37:39

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Цитата15 novembre 2017
 Ariane 241 - La 1ère campagne de l'année est lancée !

Le navire qui assure le transport, entre l'Europe et la Guyane, des éléments du lanceur, est arrivé au port de Pariacabo de Kourou. Les éléments sont déchargés et convoyés au Centre spatial guyanais, jusqu'au BIL (bâtiment d'intégration lanceur). La mission d'Ariane 5 prévue fin janvier 18, sera le premier lancement de l'année.
Цитата15 ноября 2017 г.
Ariane 241 - Стартовала первая кампания года!

Корабль, перевозящий составные части РН между Европой и Гайаной, прибыл в порт Париакабо де Куру. Составные части РН разгружаются и транспортируются в Гвианский космический центр  в здание сборки РН (BIL). Миссия Ariane 5, запланированная на 18 января, станет первым запуском года.
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Цитата Orbital ATK‏Подлинная учетная запись @OrbitalATK 20 ч. назад

We are preparing to ship our first GEOStar-3 satellite, @yahsatofficial's Al Yah 3, fr om our manufacturing facility in Dulles, VA to its launch site in French Guiana

18 ч. назад

Employees attended this afternoon's Al Yah 3 send off ceremony, wh ere they heard remarks from program leads & Space Systems Group President Frank Culbertson
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18 ч. назад

Al Yah 3 will be shipped to its French Guiana launch site this week, and launch is expected in early 2018. Learn more about the satellite:
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Цитата Peter B. de Selding‏ @pbdes 5 ч назад

Al Yah 3 for @yahsatofficial arrives at Europe's spaceport in S America; 1st @OrbitalATK GEOStar-3 hybrid electric propulsion sat; 8 kW power to payload; Brazil/African coverage; launch in Jan w/ @Arianespace.

Orbital ATK Delivers Al Yah 3 Commercial Communications Satellite to Launch Site

Company's First Hybrid Electric Propulsion GEOStar-3 Satellite Scheduled for January Launch from Kourou, French Guiana
Dulles, Virginia 30 November 2017 - Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that the Al Yah 3 satellite has arrived at its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, for its upcoming launch on an Arianespace rocket in January 2018. Al Yah 3, built for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC (Yahsat), a leading global satellite operator, is the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3™ satellite to be completed by Orbital ATK. The satellite was built at the company's satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia, and shipped to the launch site on November 28. Al Yah 3 will extend Yahsat's commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.
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Al Yah 3 is an all Ka-band high-throughput and light-weight satellite that sets a new standard for affordability and payload flexibility in its class. The spacecraft will provide affordable broadband communications to 60% of Africa's population and more than 95% of Brazil's population.

"Today's delivery highlights the teamwork and cooperation between Orbital ATK and Yahsat that brings us one step closer to advancing our customer's goals," said Amer Khouri, Vice President of the Commercial Satellite Business at Orbital ATK. "With the satellite now in Kourou, we look forward to working with both Yahsat and Arianespace to prepare for a successful launch in January."

"Al Yah 3 is a significant milestone in realizing our vision at Yahsat. Extending our affordable broadband services to 60% of the people in Africa and more than 95% in Brazil to bridge the digital divide and enable a more connected world is core to our strategy. We look forward to the successful launch of Al Yah 3 and thereafter furthering our ambitions via future missions to support more growth for YahClick, and for our other business lines such as commercial in-flight connectivity," said Marcus Vilaca, Chief Technology Officer at Yahsat.

The GEOStar-3 platform is the newest, highest power and most advanced platform in the flight-proven GEOStar product line. The spacecraft bus features an increase in both battery capacity and solar array power, enabling the GEOStar-3 to provide up to 8 kilowatts of power to the payload. The hybrid electric propulsion system provides the benefits of higher power and greater payload capability while maintaining cost-effective launches and a faster path to orbit than all electric systems.


Цитата DutchSpace‏ @DutchSpace 1 ч. назад

Small #CSG updates: #VA241 with SES14 and Al Yah 3 is planned for 25th of January 2018 and #VS18 with 4x O3B is planned for 1st of March 2018


Цитата Stéphane Israël‏ @arianespaceceo 30 нояб.

Activities are in motion for our first #Ariane5 launch of 2018: Al Yah 3, one of Flight #VA241's two satellite passengers, arrived in French Guiana today via @yahsatofficial @OrbitalATK
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ЦитатаDecember 5, 2017

Keeping up the mission cadence: first Ariane 5 for launch in 2018 begins its integration process

The cryogenic core stage for Flight VA241's Ariane 5 is shown suspended over its mobile launch table in the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building (photo at left). In the image at right, one of two solid propellant boosters is transferred for its mating to the Ariane 5 core stage.

The first Ariane 5 for liftoff in 2018 has begun its build-up process, kicking off preparations for another busy year of Arianespace launch activity fr om its French Guiana operational base.

This heavy-lift vehicle will be used for Flight VA241, which will deliver the Al Yah 3 spacecraft for Yahsat (the Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC), based in the United Arab Emirates at Dubai, along with another relay satellite.
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The Arianespace mission's designation signifies Ariane's 241st liftoff since the European-built series of launch vehicles began operation in 1979.

Integration of the Ariane 5 is following well-established procedures at the Spaceport, with its cryogenic core stage positioned over one of two operational launch tables. This is being followed by the mating of two solid propellant boosters in the Spaceport's Ariane 5 Launcher Integration Building - clearing the way for an initial vehicle "top-off" with installation of its combined cryogenic upper stage and equipment bay atop the core stage.

Al Yah 3: a hybrid electric propulsion satellite
Ariane 5 will then be made ready for transfer to the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building, wh ere it will receive the two satellite passengers.

The protective shipping container with Al Yah 3 is unloaded from the chartered AN-124 cargo jetliner at Cayenne's Félix Eboué Airport, which was followed by the satellite's transfer by road to the Spaceport.

Al Yah 3 was built by Orbital ATK at the U.S. company's satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia. It was shipped to the launch site on November 28.

This relay platform will extend the commercial Ka-band coverage for Yahsat to an additional 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.

Al Yah 3 is the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3™ satellite to be completed by Orbital ATK. The spacecraft's hybrid electric propulsion system is designed to provide higher power and greater payload capability, while maintaining cost-effective launches and a faster path to orbit than all-electric systems.


ЦитатаICON and GOLD: Instrument Scanning Coverage

NASA Video

Опубликовано: 21 дек. 2017 г.

A basic view of the orbits for ICON (Ionospheric Connections Explorer) and GOLD (Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk). These missions will conduct measurements of ionospheric composition, ionization, and winds to better understand the connection between space weather and its terrestrial impacts.
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In this visualization, we present GOLD (in geostationary orbit around Earth) and ICON (in low Earth orbit). The colors over Earth represent model data from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere) model of the density of the singly-ionized oxygen atom at an altitude of 350 kilometers. Red represents high density. The ion density is enhanced above and below the geomagnetic equator (not perfectly aligned with the geographic equator) on the dayside due to the ionizing effects of solar ultraviolet radiation combined with the effects of high-altitude winds and the geomagnetic field.

In the latter half of the visualization, the viewing fields of the various instruments are displayed. ICON has an EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) and FUV (Far Ultraviolet) cameras (violet colored frustrums directed from spacecraft) pointing perpendicular to the orbit direction for detecting ionospheric emissions. Two Doppler interferometer cameras (blue) are directed at 45 degrees from this camera to detect ionospheric wind velocities.

GOLD has an imaging spectrometer (green) that periodically scans the disk of Earth with additional higher-resolution scans of the dayside limb. (1:33)

ЦитатаAriane 5 | December 22, 2017

Both satellites for Arianespace's first launch of 2018 are in French Guiana

As another year of successful Arianespace launch activity draws to a close, both satellites for its first mission of 2018 are now in French Guiana - positioning them for liftoff January 25 from the Spaceport on a heavy-lift Ariane 5.

Arriving today was SES-14 for Luxembourg-based telecommunications satellite operator SES, which was flown into Félix Eboué Airport near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne. Once it is transferred by road to the Spaceport, it will join the mission's other payload: Al Yah 3 for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC, located in the United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi.
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The January 25 mission to geostationary transfer orbit is designated Flight VA241 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system, signifying the 241st flight of an Ariane series launch vehicle.

SES-14 will rely on electric propulsion and will be equipped with an electric plasma propulsion system for orbit raising and in-orbit maneuvers.

C- and Ku-band coverage with SES-14
To be positioned at 47.5 degrees West, SES-14 will serve Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and the North Atlantic region with its C- and Ku-band wide beam coverage as well as Ku-band high throughput spot beams coverage.

The relay platform's C-band wide beams are designed to expand the reach of SES's second cable neighborhood in Latin America, while its Ku-band high throughput spot beams will serve the dynamic aeronautical market and other traffic-intensive applications such as maritime, cellular backhaul or broadband services. Ku-band wide beams on the spacecraft also will serve growing direct-to-home and VSAT services in the Americas and the North Atlantic.

The spacecraft also has a NASA-funded hosted payload for the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission, which is to deepen scientists' understanding of the nearest reaches of space. GOLD will provide unprecedented imaging of the Earth's upper atmosphere from geostationary orbit, and will be the first mission with a cadence fast enough to study the daily weather of the thermosphere-ionosphere rather than its long-term climate.

Al Yah 3 undergoes pre-launch processing at the Spaceport
With SES-14's arrival in French Guiana, the satellite will join Flight VA241's other passenger, Al Yah 3, which is undergoing pre-launch preparations in the Spaceport's S5 payload processing facility.

Al Yah 3 is shown during preparations in the Spaceport's S5 payload processing facility.

Al Yah 3 is the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3 satellite to be completed by Orbital ATK. It was built at the U.S. company's satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia, and shipped to the launch site on November 28.

As an all Ka-band high-throughput and light-weight satellite, Al Yah 3 will provide affordable broadband communications to 60 percent of Africa's population and more than 95 percent of Brazil's population.


Цитата SES‏Подлинная учетная запись @SES_Satellites 7 ч. назад

.@Airbus-built #HTS SES-14 has arrived in French Guiana for a January launch by an @Arianespace 5 vehicle! The #satellite hosts @NASA's GOLD atmospheric science payload & will serve thriving #video, #maritime and #aeronautical markets across the Americas. 


Цитата Stéphane Israël‏ @arianespaceceo 23 дек.

Present and accounted for! The electric #SES-14 has arrived in French Guiana for its January launch aboard #Ariane5. Built by @Airbus, it will be orbited for our long-time customer @SES_Satellites.
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ЦитатаProchain lancement :

Vol Ariane 241 : lancement des satellites Al Yah 3 et SES-14. Le 25 janvier 2018 décollage prévu à 19h20 (locale).
ЦитатаСледующий запуск:

Полет Ariane 241: запуск спутников Al Yah 3 и SES-14. 25 января 2018 года пуск запланирован на 19:20 (время местное).


Цитата SES‏Подлинная учетная запись @SES_Satellites 6 ч. назад

Join @NASA's live event on Facebook on 4th Jan, 1pm ET to learn about the GOLD payload on SES-14. Hear NASA scientists and @SES_Government @toddgossett talk about why they're excited about the upcoming satellite  (image: Airbus)
2018-01-04 21:00 ДМВ


Не только на Мордокниге, но на NASA TV:
ЦитатаUpcoming Events (All Times Eastern)
  • ...
  • 1 p.m., Thursday, January 4 - "Going for GOLD: Exploring the Nearest Reaches of Space" (all channels)
2018-01-04 21:00 ДМВ


ЦитатаExploring the Ionosphere: The View from GOLD

NASA Video

Опубликовано: 4 янв. 2018 г.

From its geostationary orbit, GOLD will have a continual view of Earth and its outer atmosphere. This visualization shows the view of Earth from GOLD. Because GOLD remains situated above the same geographic longitude, ICON will pass through its field of view. The two will take complementary measurements from different vantage points, making it easier to identify what caused a given change in the ionosphere. (2:25)

ЦитатаGoing for GOLD

On Jan. 25, we're going for GOLD!

We're launching an instrument called Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, GOLD for short. It's a new mission that will study a complicated -- and not yet fully understood -- region of near-Earth space, called the ionosphere.
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Space is not completely empty: It's teeming with fast-moving energized particles and electric and magnetic fields that guide their motion. At the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space, these particles and fields -- the ionosphere -- co-exist with the upper reaches of the neutral atmosphere.

That makes this a complicated place. Big events in the lower atmosphere, like hurricanes or tsunamis, can create waves that travel all the way up to that interface to space, changing the wind patterns and causing disruptions.

It's also affected by space weather. The Sun is a dynamic star, and it releases spurts of energized particles and blasts of solar material carrying electric and magnetic fields that travel out through the solar system. Depending on their direction, these bursts have the potential to disrupt space near Earth.

This combination of factors makes it hard to predict changes in the ionosphere -- and that can have a big impact. Communications signals, like radio waves and signals that make our GPS systems work, travel through this region, and sudden changes can distort them or even cut them off completely.

Low-Earth orbiting satellites -- including the International Space Station -- also fly through the ionosphere, so understanding how it fluctuates is important for protecting these satellites and astronauts.  

GOLD is a spectrograph, an instrument that breaks light down into its component wavelengths, measuring their intensities. Breaking light up like this helps scientists see the behavior of individual chemical elements -- for instance, separating the amount of oxygen versus nitrogen. GOLD sees in far ultraviolet light, a type of light that's invisible to our eyes.

GOLD is a hosted payload. The instrument is hitching a ride aboard SES-14, a commercial communications satellite built by Airbus for SES Government Solutions, which owns and operates the satellite.

Also launching this year is the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, which will also study the ionosphere and neutral upper atmosphere. But while GOLD will fly in geostationary orbit some 22,000 miles above the Western Hemisphere, ICON will fly just 350 miles above Earth, able to gather close up images of this region.

Together, these missions give us an unprecedented look at the ionosphere and upper atmosphere, helping us understand the very nature of how our planet interacts with space.

To learn more about this region of space and the GOLD mission, visit:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:  
Jan 4th, 2018

ЦитатаJan. 4, 2018

Two Heads Are Better than One: ICON & GOLD Teaming Up To Explore Earth's Interface to Space

Like Earth, space has weather. Except instead of swirling winds and downpours of precipitation, space weather is defined by shifting electric and magnetic fields and rains of charged particles. At the very beginning of space, starting just 60 miles above Earth's surface, there's a layer of the atmosphere that shifts and changes in concert with both types of weather.
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Above the ozone layer, the ionosphere is a part of Earth's atmosphere where particles have been cooked into a sea of electrically-charged electrons and ions by the Sun's radiation. The ionosphere is comingled with the very highest -- and quite thin -- layers of Earth's neutral upper atmosphere, making this region an area that is constantly in flux undergoing the push-and-pull between Earth's conditions and those in space. Increasingly, these layers of near-Earth space are part of the human domain, as it's home not only to astronauts, but to radio signals used to guide airplanes and ships, and satellites that provide our communications and GPS systems. Understanding the fundamental processes that govern our upper atmosphere and ionosphere is crucial to improve situational awareness that helps protect astronauts, spacecraft and humans on the ground.

Two new NASA missions are teaming up to explore this little-understood area that's close to home but historically hard to observe. The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, instrument launches aboard a commercial communications satellite in January 2018, and the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft launches later in 2018. Together, they will provide the most comprehensive observations of the ionosphere we've ever had.

The ionosphere is a region of charged particles in near-Earth space that coexists with the neutral gases in the upper atmosphere, which are sometimes shaped by weather events in the lower atmosphere.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Duberstein

The two missions provide distinct but complementary perspectives: ICON, in low-Earth orbit, flies directly through and just above regions of interest, capturing detailed remote and in situ data on the forces that shape this area. GOLD, in geostationary orbit over the Western Hemisphere, will build up a full-disk view of the ionosphere and upper atmosphere every half hour, providing detailed large-scale measurements of related processes -- a cadence which makes it the first mission to be able to monitor the true weather of the upper atmosphere, rather than the longer cycles of its climate. GOLD is also able to focus in on a tighter region and scan more quickly, to complement additional research plans as needed.
(Video1 2:25)
From its geostationary orbit, GOLD will have a continual view of Earth and its outer atmosphere. This visualization shows the view of Earth from GOLD. Because GOLD remains situated above the same geographic longitude, ICON will pass through its field of view. The two will take complementary measurements from different vantage points, making it easier to identify what caused a given change in the ionosphere.
Credits: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Download this video in HD formats from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

The missions could be likened to photography we're familiar with on Earth. GOLD specializes in landscapes from its view 22,000 miles above the planet's surface and ICON -- at 350 miles above Earth -- captures detailed close-ups. During parts of its orbit, ICON passes through GOLD's field of view and each mission will get a unique snapshot of the same region. This overlap in their data makes it easier to identify what caused a certain change to the upper atmosphere at a given time.

One shared goal for the missions is to systematically measure weather-related shifts in the upper atmosphere. For the first time, we'll be able to see how the upper atmosphere changes in response to hurricanes and geomagnetic storms alike.

"We used to think only solar wind could affect the ionosphere, and only the lower atmosphere was affected by terrestrial weather," said Doug Rowland, ICON mission scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The solar wind is the Sun's constant outflow of charged particles and magnetized material. "But now we're going to get to see how that energy couples together."

Several types of terrestrial weather events are of particular interest. Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, for example, have developed a theoretical model of El Niño's repercussions on the ionosphere. Their model suggests El Niño-driven warming of the Pacific Ocean causes an increase in water vapor, which in turn increases the amount of solar energy the atmosphere absorbs. That added heat causes wind patterns to fluctuate and alter conditions in the ionosphere. Tropical cyclones are also suspected to have effects on the ionosphere. Data from ICON and GOLD are expected to answer these questions and further reveal unanticipated mechanisms at work.

"There are huge scientific modeling efforts associated with both of these missions," said Sarah Jones, GOLD mission scientist at NASA Goddard. "We already have models that are filled with really good science, but these new measurements will lead to a better understanding of the physics in the models."
(Video2 0:39)
Bright swaths of red and green, known as airglow, are visible in this time-lapse view of Earth's limb captured from the International Space Station. Airglow occurs when gases in the upper atmosphere become charged by the Sun's radiation, emitting light. By measuring the light from airglow, ICON and GOLD will learn a lot about the neutral and charged particles in the upper atmosphere.
Credits: NASA

In addition to working together to determine how different types of energy flow through the upper atmosphere, the two missions also have their own research objectives. GOLD's science focuses on observing what drives change -- the Sun, Earth's magnetic field and the lower atmosphere -- in the upper atmosphere. GOLD is particularly interested in how the upper atmosphere reacts to geomagnetic storms, which are temporary disturbances of Earth's magnetic field set off by solar activity. During nighttime, GOLD examines disruptions in the ionosphere -- dense, unpredictable bubbles of charged gas that appear over the equator and tropics, sometimes interfering with radio communications.

On the other hand, ICON concentrates on how charged and neutral gases in the upper atmosphere behave and interact. Several forces -- including shifts in neutral winds, pressure gradients and solar activity -- act on the ionosphere simultaneously; ICON was designed to study each of them individually, making it easier for scientists to elucidate cause-and-effect relationships.

ICON and GOLD join a small fleet of spacecraft that study a vast interconnected system from the space surrounding Earth and other planets to the farthest limits of the Sun's constantly flowing streams of solar wind. A third mission in the fleet -- the 16-year-old Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, will specifically complement the new efforts to study the upper atmosphere. TIMED, which launched in 2001, doesn't carry all the instruments necessary to analyze the motion of the particles in the upper atmosphere that ICON and GOLD bring to the effort, but it still can provide key measurements from a third vantage point to help scientists fill in pieces of the puzzle. Together they will provide key information about how Earth's upper atmosphere connects to the dynamic and complex system of space that fills our solar system.

The last time Earth's disk was seen in far-ultraviolet light was in 1972, during the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission. Astronaut John W. Young used a UV camera to take this photo of Earth from the moon. GOLD will have a continuous view of Earth's atmosphere in far-ultraviolet light, allowing scientists to see changes to the ionosphere and thermosphere that are otherwise invisible.
Credits: NASA

ICON and GOLD are Explorer-class missions. NASA Goddard manages the Explorer Program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory developed the ICON mission and the two ultraviolet imaging spectrographs onboard; the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., developed the MIGHTI instrument; the University of Texas in Dallas developed the Ion Velocity Meter; and the ICON spacecraft was built by Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia.

GOLD is led by the University of Central Florida, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder built the instrument. GOLD is a NASA mission of opportunity -- an instrument hosted on an otherwise unrelated satellite. GOLD flies in geostationary orbit on a commercial communications satellite, SES-14, built by Airbus for Luxembourg-based satellite operator, SES. GOLD is the first NASA science mission to fly as a hosted payload on a commercial communications satellite.

NASA Goddard manages the TIMED mission for the Heliophysics Division within the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, built the spacecraft for NASA.

By Micheala Sosby
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Last Updated: Jan. 4, 2018
Editor: Rob Garner

ЦитатаNASA science hosted payload ready for launch
by Jeff Foust -- January 5, 2018

The SES-14 satellite will carry NASA's Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument as a hosted payload. Credit: Airbus Defence and Space

WASHINGTON -- A NASA instrument to study the interaction of the Earth's upper atmosphere with space weather is ready for launch later this month as a payload on a commercial communications satellite.

The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is a hosted payload on the SES-14 communications satellite, scheduled for launch Jan. 25 on an Ariane 5 rocket that will also carry the Al Yah 3 communications satellite. The satellite arrived at the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, last month for launch preparations.
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GOLD marks the first time NASA has flown a science mission as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite. Such payloads are designed to take advantage of excess payload capacity on commercial satellites to fly various communications, scientific and technology demonstration payloads for government agencies.

Hosted payloads offer, in theory, more frequent flight opportunities and at lower costs than dedicated spacecraft. In practice, though, only a handful of hosted payloads have flown for military and civil agencies to date because of the difficulties finding suitable satellite hosts and contractual challenges, among other issues.

For GOLD, a hosted payload made sense since the goal of the mission is to get a global view of conditions in the ionosphere as it interacts with the solar wind and geomagnetic storms, which is not possible with a satellite in low Earth orbit. "What we wanted to do is get the big picture," said Richard Eastes, principal investigator for GOLD at the University of Central Florida, during a Jan. 4 NASA briefing. "That lets us put things into context, things that we can't understand when we're just looking at one little piece."

With GOLD in geostationary orbit, he said, scientists will be able to see conditions in the ionosphere over an entire hemisphere, with observations planned for every half hour. "That allows us to follow the evolution in time, over the day, of the upper atmosphere," he said. By contrast, missions in low Earth orbit pass over different locations at different times of day, making it difficult to separate changes in geography with changes in time.

Eastes said a hosted payload on a communications satellite made the most sense for a mission like GOLD. "Communications companies are flying lots of satellites, so that was the place to go," he said. "So we started talking to some of the communications satellite companies, including SES."

Getting GOLD launched has been years in the making. "SES has been working with Richard and the GOLD team for the good part of a decade, dozens of people company-wide," said Todd Gossett, senior director of hosted payloads at SES Government Solutions, at the NASA briefing. "Now we finally get to realize the fruits of that labor."

Eastes and other scientists will have to wait a while after launch before getting data from GOLD. SES-14 is an all-electric satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space, and will take several months to reach its final position in geostationary orbit. Eastes said it will likely be late September or early October before GOLD starts operations.

Despite the challenges that hosted payloads have faced, Gossett played up the benefits, such as the steady stream of potential opportunities for payloads as well as the use of other satellite infrastructure, such as ground stations and mission control centers, to operate those payloads.

Gossett said SES, which has worked on several other hosted payloads, is learning to find ways to make the process more efficient, such as coordinating schedules and synchronizing contracts. "Every time we go through the process, we learn a little something on how to take that process and apply it forward," he said.

GOLD is not the only hosted payload science mission NASA has on the books. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument, selected as part of NASA's Earth Venture program in 2012, is planned for launch no earlier than 2020 to measure air quality. The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), selected by NASA as part of the Earth Venture program in late 2016, will measure vegetation and atmospheric carbon starting in the early 2020s. The host satellites for both TEMPO and GeoCARB have not yet been selected.


Thursday, January 4 - "Going for GOLD: Exploring the Nearest Reaches of Space" - запись передачи
Цитата NASA Sun Science
3 ч ·

GOLD is a new NASA science mission that launches in January 2018 to explore Earth's interface to space! On Jan. 4, NASA GOLD mission scientist Sarah Jones, GOLD principal investigator Richard Eastes, NASA heliophysicist C. Alex Young, and SES director of hosted payloads Todd Gossett shared details of GOLD's mission and why they're excited about this particular launch.

GOLD stands for Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk. It will inspect the dynamic region of near-Earth space where space and Earth's uppermost atmosphere meet, called the ionosphere. Historically difficult to observe, this is a little understood region that responds both to the lower atmosphere below and the tumult of space weather from above. GOLD is a hosted instrument roughly the size of a mini-fridge that will fly aboard a commercial communications satellite, SES-14 -- and it's the first NASA science mission to do so.

We appreciate your patience with our live stream technical difficulties on Jan. 4. Here is the full show! Learn more about GOLD at