Satellites can be vulnerable to solar storms

I don't use ocean color data, but found this report of interest nonetheless. From the HICO website. HICO is the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean.

HICO Operations Ended. March 20, 2015

In September 2014 during an X-class solar storm, HICO’s computer took a severe radiation hit, from which it never recovered.  Over the past several months, engineers at NRL and NASA have attempted to restart the computer and have conducted numerous tests to find alternative pathways to communicate with it.  None of these attempts have been successful.  So it is with great sadness that we bid a fond farewell to HICO.

Yet we rejoice that HICO performed splendidly for five years, despite being built in only 18 months from non space-hardened, commercial-off-the-shelf parts for a bargain price.  Having met all its Navy goals in the first year, HICO was granted a two-year operations extension from the Office of Naval Research and then NASA stepped in to sponsor this ISS-based sensor, extending HICO’s operations another two years.  All told, HICO operated for 5 years, during which it collected approximately 10,000 hyperspectral scenes of the earth.

Most of the HICO scenes taken over sites worldwide are available now, and will remain accessible to researchers through two websites: and  HICO will live on through research conducted by scientists using HICO data, especially studies exploring the complexities of the world’s coastal oceans.