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Wind mission graphic

Phase: Operating

Launch Date: November 01, 1994

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Program(s):Heliophysics Research

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The Wind spacecraft is the first of two U.S. missions of the Global Geospace Science (GGS) initiative, which is part of a worldwide collaboration called the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program.  The aim of ISTP is to understand the physical behavior of the solar-terrestrial system in order to predict how the Earth's magnetosphere and atmosphere will respond to changes in solar wind.


WIND was launched on November 1, 1994 and was positioned in a sunward, multiple double-lunar swingby orbit with a maximum apogee of 250Re during the first two years of operation. This will be followed by a halo orbit at the Earth-Sun L1 point. The science objectives of the WIND mission are:

  • Provide conplete plasma, energetic particle, and magnetic field input for magnetospheric and ionospheric studies.
  • Determine the magnetospheric output to interplanetary space in the up-stream region
  • Investigate basic plasma processes occuring in the near-Earth solar wind
  • Provide baseline ecliptic plane observations to be used in heliospheric latitudes from ULYSSES.


 Wind plays a crucial role -- essentially that of a scout and sentry -- in the fleet of ISTP satellites.  The

task of Wind is to measure crucial properties of the solar wind before it impacts the Earth's magnetic field and alters the Earth's space environment (which contains charged particles, electric and magnetic fields, electric currents and radiation) and upper atmosphere in a direct manner.