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Solar Missions

Mission Country Launch Date Mission End Date Type Mission Characteristics

Skylab USA May 14, 1973 February 8,1974 Manned orbiting spacecraft Held the Apollo telescope mount (ATM) designed to study the Sun at various wavelengths
Served as a solar observatory specializing in solar physics
Solar Maximum Mission USA February 14, 1980 December 1989 Orbiting spacecraft Objective was to study solar actvity of solar cycle 21 which had peaked in late 1979
It carried 7 instruments designed to observe flares and associated phenomena in wavelength range from white-light to gamma rays
P78-1 USA 1979 1985 Satellite Objective was to study solar actvity of solar cycle 21 and 22
It made measurements of the broadening and shifting of x-ray lines at solar flare impulsive stages
It carried the SOLWIND coronagraph and soft x-ray spectrometers
Spacelab 2 USA Summer 1985 Mission lasted two weeks Solar instruments housed in shuttle bay Objective was to study ultraviolet and visible radiation from the Sun
Ulysses USA/Europe October 6, 1990 December 2001 Orbiting spacecraft Is currently in high-latitude polar orbit around the Sun
Mission objectives include examining the solar magnetic field, solar wind plasma and galactic cosmic rays
Yohkoh USA/Japan August 30, 1991 ? Satellite Objective is to make high-energy observations of the Sun, focussing on flares and coronal disturbances
Geotail USA July 24, 1992 After solar maximum, 2001 Satellite Objective is to understand the physics of solar-terrestial relations, particularly plasma interaction with the Earth's magnetotail
WIND USA November 1, 1994 Currently active (7/97) Satellite Objective is to provide complete plasma, energetic particle and magnetic field input for magnetospheric/ionospheric studies
Complements Ulysses mission in data gathered
Interball (Tail) Russia and others August 3, 1995 ? Satellite Objective is to investigate solar-terrestial plasma interaction
While located in the magnetospheric tail, the satellite will study the solar wind flux, ion composition, and electron flux
Spartan 201 USA September 8, 1995 September 10, 1995 Satellite Shuttle launched and retrieved satellite whose mission was to study the Sun
Payload consisted of two telescopes: the UV coronal spectrometer and the white light coronagraph
SOHO USA/Europe December 2, 1995 Currently active (7/97) Satellite Objective is to investigate the Sun's corona, solar wind, and interior structure of the Sun
Holds 12 instruments
Polar USA February 24, 1996 Currently active (7/97) Satellite Objective is to measure solar plasma, energetic particles and magnetic field at high polar regions
Interball (Auroral) Russia and others August 29, 1996 ? Satellite Objective is to investigate solar-terrestial plasma interaction
Satellite is located above the polar aurora
Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) USA August 25, 1997 ? Satellite in L1 Halo orbit The ACE spacecraft is sampling low-energy particles of solar origin and high-energy galactic particles. It also provides near-real-time reports of space weather.
Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) USA October 25, 2006 ? Twin satellites in solar orbits The pair of STEREO spacecraft are generating stereoscopic images and collecting 3D data about the Sun and CMEs.
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) USA February 11, 2010 ? Satellite SDO is capturing high resolution images and data about the magnetic field and brightness variation of the Sun.
Last modified May 4, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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