Tracking Earth’s Space Environment
A new NOAA spacecraft, DSCOVR, will be the nation’s first operational spacecraft in deep space, orbiting approximately one million miles from Earth, between Earth and the Sun. DSCOVR will give NWS space weather forecasters more reliable measurements of solar wind speed, improving their ability to monitor harmful solar activity and issue timely warnings of solar storms that have the potential to disrupt nearly every major public infrastructure system, including satellites, GPS, aviation and the electric power industry.
DSCOVR will succeed NASA’s Advanced Composition Explore’s (ACE) role in supporting solar wind alerts and warnings from the L1 orbit, the neutral gravity point between the Earth and sun approximately one million miles from Earth. L1 is a good position from which to monitor the sun, because the constant stream of particles from the sun (the solar wind) reaches L1 about an hour before reaching Earth.
From this position, DSCOVR will typically be able to provide 15 to 60 minute warning time before the surge of particles and magnetic field, known as a coronal mass ejection (or CME), associated with a geomagnetic storm reaches Earth. DSCOVR data will also be used to improve predictions of geomagnetic storm impact locations. Our national security and economic well-being, which depend on advanced technologies, are at risk without these advanced warnings.  
- NOAA – Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR): http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/
- NOAA News: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20141218_DSCOVR.html