About the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) and Its Mission

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), previously called Triana and informally referred to as GoreSat is an observation and space weather satellite which is operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was launched on 11th February 2015 by the American aerospace company SpaceX on its Falcon 9 v1.1 orbital launch vehicle, more than a decades after it was originally planned to be launched.

‘Demise’ of Triana and ‘Rebirth’ as the DSCOVR

The DSCOVR was originally developed as Triana by NASA in 1998 when Al Gore (he was at the time serving as Vice President) proposed for it to be launched into space with a mission to observe the Earth and monitor various phenomena both on Earth and space including solar wind, terrestrial climate, ozone changes, etc. as well as provide virtually non-stop live view of our planet that would be available for public viewing on the Internet. According to Gore, the idea was to contribute to science, especially astronomy but he also wanted to increase public awareness about environmental issues.

In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences was asked for opinion about the project by the U.S. Congress. It nodded to Gore, stating that the project is of major importance for science. But despite that, Triana’s launch that was supposed to happen in 2003 was postponed. The satellite was put in storage where it remained during the entire Bush’s term. It was taken from the storage and designated for launch only in 2008.

The Launch and the First Images of Earth

It wasn’t until 11th February 2015 when the Triana - it was meanwhile renamed as the Deep Space Climate Observatory - was finally launched aboard the Falcon 9 v1.1. But the observation and space weather satellite sent back the first image of Earth only in July after it travelled about 1 million miles from the Earth. Since October 2015 when NASA launched a new website, the images from the DSCOVR can be seen online. On average, 12 images are published on the website each day.

The DSCOVR is equipped with a host of instruments including PlasMag (Plasma-Magnetometer), Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and National Institute of Standard and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR). Besides taking images of our planet and sending them back to Earth, the mentioned instruments are also collecting data and monitoring various factors influencing the space weather.