Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD): From Simulations to Observations
Friday, 18 December 2015: 11:20
2016 (Moscone West)
The GOLD mission is scheduled to launch a far ultraviolet (FUV), imaging spectrograph into geostationary orbit over the Americas in late 2017. Laboratory observations by an optical breadboard of the GOLD imager show performance that matches the expected performance of the flight instrument and that exceeds the requirements. Excellent agreement is seen between these laboratory observations and model calculations of the N2 LBH spectrum. Such laboratory data, as well as model simulations of the expected observations, will be used in the development and testing of the data processing to be used during flight. Simulated observations of increasing realism are being developed. These simulations are a valuable tool for developing and understanding GOLD’s observations of the neutral temperatures on the disk and limb, neutral composition (O/N2 density) on the disk, molecular oxygen density profile and the nighttime ionosphere at low latitudes. Simulations will also be used test observing plans and software for data reduction. The contract for accommodation of the GOLD instrument on the SES-14 satellite was signed in April 2015. That made GOLD the first NASA mission of opportunity to establish a contract for commercial launch into geostationary orbit. The host satellite, a Eurostar 3000 built by Airbus Defence & Space for SES, will use electric propulsion for transfer to geostationary orbit. Securing a contract for hosting has allowed the interfaces to the spacecraft to be defined and the instrument design to be completed. This presentation describes the current status of the GOLD instrument, the future development of the mission, and the simulations of the GOLD measurements.