Observed the polar magnetosphere

Polar was launched to observe the polar magnetosphere and, as its orbit precessed with time, it observed the equatorial inner magnetosphere and progressed toward an extended southern hemisphere campaign. By imaging the aurora, along with measuring the flow of particles, magnetic fields, electric fields, and electromagnetic waves, Polar gave new insight into the complex dynamics that link Earth’s magnetosphere and the neutral and ionized upper atmosphere, especially near the poles.

Mission Class:

Larger Missions

Mission Status:


LASP Roles:


Science Target:

Earth's Atmosphere, Earth's Magnetosphere

Mission Focus:

Earth's Atmosphere, Ionosphere, Magnetosphere, Space Weather

Primary Mission Site:

Launch Date: February 24, 1996
Prime Mission: 2 years
Extended Mission: ceased operations on April 16, 2008

Lead Institution: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Lead Funding Agency: NASA Global Geospace Science (GGS) program

Partners: Lockheed Martin Palo Alto Research Laboratory, Physikalisches Institut at the University of Bern Switzerland, Southwest Research Institute, Space Sciences Laboratory at University of California Berkeley, Mullard Space Science Laboratory at the University College London