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Solar System Exploration
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Advanced Compostion Explorer
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ACE
ACE Mission to Our Solar System

Goals: The Advanced Composition Explorer's prime objective is to measure and compare the composition of particles that travel to us from the Sun, the space surrounding our solar system, and elsewhere in the Galaxy. The mission also seeks to advance our ability to forecast space weather in the coming years when humans will venture beyond Earth's protective magnetosphere.

Accomplishments: ACE continues to provide space weather reports and warnings of geomagnetic storms that can disrupt communications on Earth and harm astronauts in space. The spacecraft has operated far beyond its expected lifetime.


Key Dates
25 Aug 1997:  Launch (14:39 UT)
21 Jan 1998:  Spacecraft Operational
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
ACE Facts ACE analyzes particles blown from the sun and from elsewhere in our galaxy.

The particles ACE detects include galactic cosmic rays, which are fragments of atoms from deep in the galaxy, traveling at nearly the speed of light.

ACE helps us understand the sun, its interaction with Earth, and the Solar System's origin and evolution.

ACE provides about a one-hour warning of space-weather events that could harm electronics and future astronauts. It may help us one day to predict hazardous space weather.

ACE orbits the sun at Lagrangian Point 1 (L1), which is about 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) sunward of Earth.

At L1, Earth's gravity counterbalances that of the sun such that ACE remains directly between Earth and the Sun as the planet and spacecraft orbit the sun.
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Last Updated: 8 Apr 2014