This visualization shows the orbits of NASA-related near-Earth science missions that are considered operational as of March 2017. These missions include both NASA-run missions as well as missions run by organizations that NASA has partnered with. Missions that enable science data collection (TDRS) are also included.
Colors are used to distinguish what science category each mission is observing. In some cases, one mission may observe multiple categories (e.g., DSCOVR observes the Sun and the Earth), so only one is choosen. The colors are:
Yellow orbits are missions that observe the sun (heliophysics)
Blue orbits are missions that observe the Earth
Red orbits are missions that observe the stars and planets (astrophysics)
Orange orbits are "other"
The green orbit is manned (International Space Station)
The clouds used in this version are from a high resolution GEOS model run at 10 minute time steps interpolated down to the per-frame level.