Degradation free spectrometers sounding rocket

Jul 20, 2012 By Jennifer Rumburg
Degradation free spectrometers sounding rocket
Partial interior assembly of Degradation Free Spectrometers sounding rocket. Credit: University of Southern California

(Phys.org) -- The July 24, 2012 Degradation Free Spectrometers (DFS) sounding rocket mission's ultimate objective is to significantly advance the state of the art in short wavelength observing solar spectrometers to permit more detailed investigation and understanding of the physics, and hence behavior, of our dynamic sun. Such spectrometers must be capable of high cadence measurements of the highly variable Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) solar flux and have minimal degradation over multi-year time scales while observing the sun 24/7, in order to improve previous state of the art instruments such as the still active SEM instrument on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft launched in December of 1995.

The present flight will carry two newly developed which meet the observational challenge and will be proven flight ready on the present mission and are discussed below. This is also a calibration flight. The mission carries a clone of the SOHO Solar Monitor (SEM) which is calibrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, both before and after flight, to provide a calibration check on the on-orbit SEM.

This on-orbit SOHO instrument is observing the sun from the La Grange point along the Earth-Sun line where the solar gravitational pull on the spacecraft is equal and opposite to the of the Earth. This position is about 1% of the distance from the Earth to the sun, or about one million miles from Earth, well outside the Earth’s atmosphere and also outside the Earth’s magnetic field. The current payload also carries rare gas ionization cells which integrate the solar flux over much of the EUV spectral range to provide independent absolute solar flux data, which will help to validate the underflight calibration data.

Launch is currently scheduled for July 24 1:11 p.m. MDT at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SDO/EVE calibration sounding rocket launch

Jun 21, 2012

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched on 11 February 2010, and the EUV Variability Experiment (EVE), one of the three solar instruments aboard SDO, began normal operations on 1 May 2010.

SUMI rocket to study the Sun's magnetic fields

Jul 02, 2012

(Phys.org) -- On July 5, NASA will launch a sounding rocket mission called the Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation or SUMI, to study the intricate, constantly changing magnetic fields on the sun in ...

ESA's SOHO will lead a fleet of solar observatories

May 24, 2006

New funding, to extend the mission of ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO, will ensure it plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled to be launched over the next few years.

Hi-C to investigate activity in solar atmosphere

Jun 22, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is leading an international effort to develop and launch the High Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, on a sounding rocket from the White ...

ESA To Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission

Oct 06, 2011

On October 4, 2011, the European Space Agency announced it's two next science missions, including Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft geared to study the powerful influence of the sun. Solar Orbiter will be an ESA-led ...

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

Aug 29, 2014

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

Aug 29, 2014

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

Aug 28, 2014

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

Aug 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0