Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory
STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program. It was launched in October 2006 aboard a single Delta II 7925 launch vehicle. This mission consists of two nearly identical space-based observatories to provide 3-D stereoscopic images to study the nature of coronal mass ejections.
Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are powerful eruptions that can blow up to 10 billion tons of the sun's atmosphere into interplanetary space. Traveling away from the sun at speeds of approximately 1000 km/s, CMEs can create major disturbances in the interplanetary medium and trigger severe magnetic storms when they collide with Earth. Large geomagnetic storms can cause electrical power outages and damage communications satellites.
Instruments for Satellites
In close collaboration with hte university of New Hampshire, USA, the MPE provided the PLasma and SupraThermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) sensor for the measurement of solar wind velocity density and temperature and of the elemental ionic charge composition of suprathermal ions (H-Fe) in the energy range 0.2 - 100 keV/e.
satellite launch: October 6, 2006
actual status: active in helocentric orbit
end of mission: t.b.d.