$95M Satellite Project at CU to Help Earthlings Cope with Space Weather

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to the small space station in the 1970s. Solar activity caused satellite drag that changed Skylab’s orbit, and in 1979 it crashed back to earth. Few people remember much about the mission itself, but the mystery over where it would crash and pictures of the debris it left after landing in Australia created something of a media spectacle.

Satellite drag remains an issue, but scientists are better at understanding how to offset it and other complications from ionization. For example, GPS system operators can alter signals to correct for changes caused by ionization, Eparvier said.

CU says that in addition to the geostationary contract, LASP is receiving $18 million from NASA for instruments and electronics flying aboard the Van Allen Probes mission launched in 2012 to study Earth’s radiation belts. LASP also designed and built a $32 million instrument for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory that launched in 2010, and designed, built, and operates the $100 million SORCE solar satellite from campus.


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