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NASA Sounding Rocket 36.171

2 November 1998, 11:20 MST (18:20 UT) White Sands Missile Range, NM

Launch Update

It was a very successful flight! The launch went smoothly, and preliminary "quicklook" results suggest that all instruments were working as expected, providing both good solar images and spectra. We are now in the process of performing post-flight alignment checks and radiometric calibrations.

A special opportunity for viewing the launch was provided by the WSMR STEWS NRO-AM organization. This live site showed the view from the video camera onboard the payload, which looks at the ground as the rocket lifts away from the launcher, and then looks across the horizon as the payload takes data, beginning at T+54 seconds. The site also contains instructions for downloading the free required plug-in to view the launch. Playbacks of the launch can still be viewed at this site.

The website for this live coverage is: http://www.wsmr.army.mil/nro_a/WEB/mainweb.html.

Coronal Helium Imager and Solar Irradiance Experiment


A NASA 2-stage Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocket (36.171) was launched at 11:20 MST (18:20 UT) from White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). The Principle Investigator was Dr. Don Hassler of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, in collaboration with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.

The scientific objectives of this mission were:

(1) to constrain the coronal helium abundance from simultaneous observations of the Lyman-a lines of He II 304 and H I 1216 , both from the disk and in the corona between 1.2-2.0 solar radii.

(2) to provide a solar cycle reference spectrum for the solar EUV irradiance which is needed for improvements of our understanding of the solar EUV irradiance variability and for improvements of existing proxy models of the solar EUV irradiance.

(3) to provide an underflight calibration of the coronal instruments on the ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft by direct comparison with the radiometrically calibrated solar EUV images and solar EUV irradiances from the solar rocket instruments.

(4) to perform coordinated observations with the Spartan 201-4 satellite, to be deployed by the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95), the TRACE Small Explorer satellite, the Japanese Yohkoh satellite and the SNOE University Explorer satellite.

Quicklook Images and Results

Shown below are the two full disk images from flight 36.171 (Fe X/IX 171 and H I Ly-alpha 1216), together with two simultaneous SOHO/EIT images (Fe X/IX 171 and He II 304).

Rocket-related Papers


Click here for the Image Gallery from White Sands!   36.171 Image Gallery

Click here for the Movie Gallery showing Quicktime movies of the Horizontal Test, Launch (viewed from both the Blockhouse and onboard the rocket), and an interview with the PI, Don Hassler, talking about the rocket payload and its scientific objectives.   36.171 Movie Gallery

(Photos and Quicktime movies are courtesy of Rick Nelson, Navy Headquarters, WSMR)

This project is a collaboration with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado. Check out more information, including movies of previous rocket flights, at:

LASP/CU Rocket Experiment Homepage.

SwRI GAP Group's Homepage

SwRI Homepage

This is http://www.bo ulder.swri.edu/~hassler/rocket/.Last modified: March 31, 2000