China launched the ASO-S satellite for solar and space weather studies

China launched the ASO-S satellite for solar and space weather studies

The satellite, known as the Advanced Space Solar Observatory, launched the Long March 2D missile on Saturday from the Jiuquan launch site in Inner Mongolia.

The ASO-S spacecraft, known as "Kuafu-1", was successfully launched into a target orbit, a solar-synchronous trajectory about 720 km above the Earth, in honour of a giant from China's mythology that followed the sun.

According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the ASO-S mission was first proposed by China ' s Heliophysics Community in 2011 and will use three instruments to study the Sun ' s magnetic field, solar flares and coronal mass emissions, huge outbursts of overheated plasma that fly from the Sun at a speed of millions of kilometres per hour.

Solar flares are often associated with CME, and both can affect people on Earth. For example, powerful CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt power grids, radio communications, and GPS navigation. As a "side" effect, CME can also exacerbate polar lights.

The purpose of ASO-S is to conduct simultaneous observations of flashes and CMS "to understand their links and the mechanisms of formation", wrote CAS in the mission's description. The spacecraft will also study how energy is transported across different layers of the solar atmosphere and how the solar magnetic field affects the evolution of outbreaks and CMS.

ASO-S is designed to work for at least four years and will generate about 500 gigabytes of data every day; this information can be found in considerable practical applications; the mission description also states that the satellite will "observe solar eruptions and the evolution of the magnetic field to facilitate the prediction of space weather and the protection of valuable assets in space".