GOLD is a hosted payload funded by NASA on board SES-14.
The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission will revolutionize our understanding of the nearest reaches of space. It fills a critical gap in knowledge of the Sun-Earth connection by observing a dynamic area in Earth’s upper atmosphere that responds both to space weather above, and the lower atmosphere below.
The hosted payload will observe the Sun’s impact on the Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere from Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and transmit science data through SES-14’s communications payload to the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) for processing.
GOLD will make breakthrough measurements of temperature and composition that are important for understanding satellite drag and disruptions of communication and navigation driven by the ionosphere.
High-resolution far-ultraviolet imaging spectrograph with two identical channels
Global-scale imaging of the disk with a 30-minute cadence
Host spacecraft, SES-14, is a commercial communications satellite
Launch in 2018; a 2-year nominal mission at geostationary orbit; extended mission possible
State-of-the-art space weather models will be used in data analysis
Determine how geomagnetic storms alter the temperature and composition of the Earth’s atmosphere
Analyze the global-scale response of the thermosphere to solar extreme-ultraviolet variability
Investigate the significance of atmospheric waves and tides propagating from below on the temperature structure of the thermosphere
Resolve how the structure of the equatorial ionosphere influences the formation and evolution of equatorial plasma density irregularities