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NASA Statement on Impact to GOLD Mission After Launch Anomaly

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2018

SES has informed NASA there is minimal impact on the SES-14 satellite carrying the agency’s GOLD instrument after a launch anomaly on Jan. 25, 2018. The satellite will reach geostationary orbit four weeks later than originally planned. As the spacecraft is in good health, we expect no effect on the quality of observations and data. Originally, science operations were expected to start in mid-October. Our partners are working to maintain that timeline as closely as possible. We will provide updates as they become available.

GOLD will be at the forefront of exploring and understanding near-Earth space, which is home to astronauts, radio signals used to guide airplanes and ships, and satellites that provide our communications and GPS systems. The more we understand about this region, the more we can protect our assets in space.

GOLD will explore a little understood area close to home, but historically hard to observe: the lowest reaches of space, a dynamic area in Earth’s upper atmosphere that responds both to space weather above, and the lower atmosphere below.

GOLD will collect observations with a 30-minute cadence, much higher than any mission that has come before it. This enables GOLD to be the first mission to study the day-to-day weather of the upper atmosphere – the overlapping thermosphere and the ionosphere – rather than its long-term climate.

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