PLASTIC home Artist's rendition of B spacecraft

Welcome to the STEREO PLASTIC website...

Part of the NASA STEREO mission for providing a global view of the Sun and its effects on the Heliosphere.

The NASA Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission uses two nearly identical spacecraft in orbit about the Sun to provide a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth system. The strategic placement of the two spacecraft allows for the first time a stereoscopic (3-D) view of the Sun and the interplanetary space environment out to the orbit of the Earth.  Of particular interest to this mission is the origin, propagation and evolution of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CMEs are the primary cause of major space weather disturbances at the Earth.

The STEREO payload combines remote imaging of the Sun and its eruptions with in-situ sampling of the particles and fields that subsequently flow past the spacecraft. The Plasma and Suprathermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) portion of the scientific payload samples the solar wind and suprathermal particles, providing measurements of kinetic properties and composition.  The PLASTIC consortium includes the University of New Hampshire, the University of Bern, the Max Planck Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, under the overall direction of the University of New Hampshire (Dr. A.B. Galvin,PI).


STEREO was successfully launched at 8:52 pm on October 25, 2006 (EDT). Both spacecraft are now in heliocentric orbits. The second year of the two year mission was completed on January 21, 2009. The mission has been extended. In October 2014, communications were lost with STB. During several months in 2015 both spacecraft were in solar conjunction. (Only limited periods of data available during conjunction. Instruments were off for most of the time, and had limited telemetry otherwise.) Post conjunction, STEREO A instruments were recommissioned and is fully operational.

Solar Conjunction Activities


  • August 19,2014: Telemetry reduction. Composition data not available.
  • December 17, 2014: Science data for PLASTIC not available until post-conjunction.
  • July 2015: Return from Solar Conjunction, still in reduced telemetry mode.
  • June 16, 2016: Return to full telemetry.
  • STB

  • September 26, 2014: Instrument shut down for Solar Conjunction spacecraft test.
  • October 1, 2014: Communication with spacecraft lost during Solar Conjunction tests. Recovery attempts ongoing.
  • 10 Year Retrospective

    Sun in 360

    Latest STEREO B status:

    Communications were lost for STEREO B in October 2014. Recovery efforts are ongoing.

    Artist's rendition of A spacecraft
    Artist's rendition of A spacecraft