The Wind spacecraft has spent much of its 20 years in space out in front of the magnetic fields – the magnetosphere – that surrounds Earth, observing the constant stream of particles flowing by from the solar wind. Credits: NASA

Launch Date Nov. 1, 1994
Launch Site Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA
Destination Our Solar System (LaGrange Point No. 1)
Type Orbiter
Status Successful—Extended Mission In Progress
Nation United States
Alternate Names STP/Wind, GGS/Wind, Wind/ISTP, Wind/GGS, 23333, 1994-071A

Goals

Observe the unperturbed solar wind that is about to impact the magnetosphere of Earth.

Accomplishments

Wind solar wind data has been cited in more than 4,000 scientific publications.

In Depth

Wind is a spin stabilized spacecraft launched with a Delta II rocket on Nov. 1, 1994. After several orbits through the magnetosphere, Wind was placed in a halo orbit around the L1 Lagrange point -- more than 200 Re upstream of Earth -- in early 2004 to observe the unperturbed solar wind that is about to impact the magnetosphere of Earth.

Wind, together with Geotail, Polar, SoHO and Cluster, constitute a cooperative scientific satellite project designated the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program that aims at gaining improved understanding of the physics of solar terrestrial relations.

The primary science objectives of the Wind mission are:

  • Provide complete plasma, energetic particle and magnetic field for magnetospheric and ionospheric studies.
  • Investigate basic plasma processes occurring in the near-Earth solar wind.
  • Provide baseline, 1 AU, ecliptic plane observations for inner and outer heliospheric missions.

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925

Spacecraft Mass: 1,250 Kilograms

Additional Resources

NASA: Wind

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Wind

A Solar Wind Workhorse Marks 20 Years of Science Discoveries

Wind Archive Site

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.

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