Heliophysics Sentinels 2020 (Forecast Version)

  • Released Monday, March 1st, 2021
  • Updated Thursday, January 25th, 2024 at 12:13AM
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In addition to the NASA missions used in research for space weather (see 2020 Heliophysics Fleet) there are additional missions operated by NOAA used for space weather forecasting. As of spring 2020, here's a tour of the NASA and NOAA Heliophysics fleets from the near-Earth satellites out to the inner solar system.

The satellite orbits are color coded for their observing program:

  • Magenta: TIM (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere) observations
  • Yellow: solar observations and imagery
  • Cyan: Geospace and magnetosphere
  • Violet: Heliospheric observations


Near-Earth Fleet:

  • Hinode: Observes the Sun in multiple wavelengths up to x-rays. SVS page
  • TIMED: Studies the upper layers (40-110 miles up) of Earth's atmosphere. SVS page
  • ICON: Works with GOLD on studies of the ionosphere.
  • AIM: Images and measures noctilucent clouds. SVS page
  • IRIS: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph is designed to take high-resolution spectra and images of the region between the solar photosphere and solar atmosphere. SVS page
  • SET: Space Environment Testbed exploring radiation-hardening technologies

Geosynchronous Fleet:

  • GOES East & GOES West: The GOES satellites provide continuous imagery of Earth's western hemisphere and monitor the solar X-ray flux.
  • SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory keeps the Sun under continuous observation at 16 megapixel resolution. SVS page
  • GOLD: Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk is a spectroscopic imager for studying the ionosphere.

Geospace Fleet:

Lunar Orbiting Fleet:

  • THEMIS-ARTEMIS: Two of the THEMIS satellites were moved into lunar orbit to study the interaction of the Earth's magnetosphere with the Moon. SVS page

Sun-Earth Lagrange Point One Fleet:

The L1 point is a Lagrange Point between the Sun and the Earth. Spacecraft can orbit this location for continuous coverage of the Sun.

  • DSCOVR: Observes Earth and measures the solar wind.
  • SOHO: Studies the Sun with cameras and a multitude of other instruments. SVS page
  • ACE: Measures the composition and characteristics of the solar wind. SVS page
  • Wind: Measures particle flows and fields in the solar wind. SVS page

Solar Orbiting Fleet:

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