SOHO Mission Extended... May 25, 2006 3:31:07 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on May 25, 2006 3:31:07 GMT -6
ESA Extends SOHO Mission
ESA announced Wednesday it has approved additional funding for its Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, allowing the spacecraft's mission to be extended from April 2007 to December 2009.
Since its launch on Dec. 2, 1995, SOHO has provided an unprecedented view of the Sun – including the side facing away from Earth, ESA said in a statement. Two teams have now developed techniques for using SOHO to recreate the conditions on the far side of the Sun.
In all, five new solar spacecraft will join SOHO in orbit over the next few years, and ESA is involved in the development of two of the satellites. Solar B, underway for ISAS/JAXA, is scheduled to launch later this year. ESA will supply the use of a ground station at Svalbard, Norway, in exchange for access to the data.
Next year, ESA will launch Proba-2, a technology-demonstration satellite carrying solar instruments. The spacecraft it will carry a complementary instrument to SOHO's EIT camera, which concentrates on the origin and early development of solar eruptions. Proba-2's camera will be able to track them into space.
NASA plans to launch its STEREO pair of spacecraft later this year, and the Solar Dynamics Orbiter in 2008. SOHO will provide a critical third point of view to assist the analysis of STEREO's observations.
Also, SOHO's coronagraph will remain unique. The instrument is capable of blotting out the glare from the Sun so the star's tenuous outer atmosphere becomes visible for study.
"By next year, we will have a fleet of spacecraft studying the Sun," said Hermann Opgenoorth, ESA's head of solar system missions division. This will advance the International Living With a Star program, an international collaboration of scientists dedicated to a long-term study of the Sun and its effects on Earth and the other solar system planets.
Full story here: www.space-travel.com/reports/ESA_Extends_SOHO_Mission.html
I was not aware that SOHO was an ESA craft.
To even not consider funding the mission should not even have been entertained.