GOLD Successfully Launched as part of SES Communications Satellite

After a successful launch on Thursday, Jan. 25, GOLD is now on its way to providing unprecedented images of the Earth’s ionosphere—the boundary between our planet and space.

Also launching this year is the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, which will study the ionosphere and neutral upper atmosphere.

But while GOLD flies in geostationary orbit—onboard its host SES Government Solutions communications satellite—more than 22,000 miles above the Western Hemisphere, ICON flies just 350 miles above Earth, where it can gather close-up images of this region.

Together, these missions will provide the most comprehensive ionosphere observations we’ve ever had, enabling a deeper understanding of how our planet interacts with space.

Download this image as a PDF.

Learn more about the collaboration between ICON—led out of UC Berkeley‘s Space Sciences Laboratory—and GOLD—designed and built at the University of Colorado Boulder‘s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics: https://go.nasa.gov/2GpxSRh.

(Image credit: NASA Goddard/Mary Pat Hrybyk)

NASA Sun Science
UC Berkeley Space Sciences Lab

UPDATE

The systems engineers successfully established communication with the GOLD instrument and its detector doors opened when commanded. After their tests, the engineers powered off the instrument the same day, at 7:40 p.m. EST. The instrument will remain powered off until its host satellite, SES-14, reaches geostationary orbit and GOLD operations commence later this year.