Clinton-era Deep Space Climate Observatory Ships to Florida Launch Site, Finally

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WASHINGTON — After spending more than a decade in storage, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) — a Clinton-era satellite formerly known as Triana — arrived in Florida Nov. 20 for integration with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch it Jan. 23, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a press release.

DSCOVR uses hardware initially assembled for an Earth observation satellite conceived in the 1990s by then-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, earning the spacecraft the nickname Goresat. Resurrected by the Obama administration after the administration of President George W. Bush shelved the project in 2001, DSCOVR has been recast as a space weather mission and will head to Earth-sun Lagrange point 1 to keep an eye on charged particles blasting out of the sun.

The DSCOVR launch marks not only the end of a long wait on the ground for the erstwhile Goresat, but also the first Falcon 9 launch the U.S. Air Force has bought. The launch is costing the service $97 million.

SpaceX of Hawthorne,. California, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., won the DSCOVR launch in 2012 when Congress directed the Pentagon to open some military launches to companies other than incumbent government launch services provider United Launch Alliance of Denver.

DSCOVR will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.