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Space weather forecasts could be badly comprimised

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  • David
    From Space.com : Sun-Watching SOHO Spacecraft Experiencing Serious Technical Problems The possible interruption of regular daily images sent by NASA s troubled
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 19, 2003
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      From Space.com :

      Sun-Watching SOHO Spacecraft Experiencing Serious Technical Problems

      The possible interruption of regular daily images sent by NASA's
      troubled SOHO spacecraft would be a "terrible loss" that would set
      space weather forecasting back 20 years, a top forecaster said today.

      The craft's primary antenna was not moving properly as of 3:30 p.m. ET
      Thursday, though engineers reported minor progress in unsticking the
      antenna and shifting it one small step. The problem is with the motor
      or drive unit.

      The high-gain antenna, used for downloading images and data, has been
      acting up for two weeks and has been stuck for nearly a week. Joe
      Kunches, lead forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center, just
      learned about it today.

      Spine-chilling problem

      "When I heard of this problem it sent a sort of chill down my spine,"
      Kunches said in a telephone interview. The agency's customers include
      NASA and power companies and satellite operators around the world.

      More at :
      http://space.com/scienceastronomy/soho_value_030619.html

      (While there are other spacecraft that could be used for flare
      detection and solar wind analysis, like GOES-8, TRACE, and ACE, SOHO
      is the only one that has the instruments to image CME's as they
      happen. SOHO is also the only spacecraft that has instruments to
      image the sun in the extreme UV range. Those UV pictures are very
      important for the analysis of flare and sunspot activity, and for the
      detection of coronal holes, although the YOKOH soft X-ray satellite
      could be used for coronal hole detection. In short, the lost of SOHO
      would have a major impact.)
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