NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) is a microwave-sized instrument designed to investigate the boundary between space and Earth’s upper atmosphere. The data it will send back from geostationary orbit about 22,000 miles away will help us better understand the boundary’s role in terrestrial and space weather. Elsayed Talaat, NASA’s heliophysics chief scientist, explained that “being on hosted commercial satellites gives… NASA a new cost-effective tool in [its] toolbox for doing science.”
While the space agency expects to continue building its own satellites for launch, being able to prove that going the hosted payload route works means its science programs now have more options to choose from. And that’s definitely a good thing, seeing as the agency is always the target of budget cuts. The fact that Ariane 5 also completed its mission despite the launch scare is also a good thing for Arianespace, since its rocket is scheduled to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2019.
Instant replay! Watch tonight’s flawless #Ariane5 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana, which commenced #Arianespace‘s year-opening flight at the service of @SES_Satellites and @yahsatofficial. #VA241 #MissiontoSuccess pic.twitter.com/FOLv5ZtJVm
— Stéphane Israël (@arianespaceceo) January 25, 2018