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LAUNCH PAD
Sounding Rocket Calibrates NASA's SDO Instrument
by Keith Koehler for Wallops Flight Facility
White Sands Missile Range NM (SPX) Oct 23, 2013


File image: Black Brant IX sounding rocket.

NASA successfully launched a Black Brant IX sounding rocket at 2 p.m. EDT from the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., carrying instrumentation to support the calibration of the EUV Variability Experiment, or EVE, aboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, satellite.

The project scientist Tom Woods, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, confirmed that good data was received during the flight. As planned, recovery of the payload is in progress.

The sounding rocket carried an experiment to support the calibration of the EUV Variability Experiment, or EVE, aboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, satellite. EVE measures the total extreme ultraviolet output of the sun, called its irradiance.

As part of the planned SDO/EVE program, the rocket calibration flight occurs about once a year to accurately determine the long-term variations of the solar extreme ultraviolet irradiance. This kind of calibration is known as an under-flight. It uses a near-replica of the SDO/EVE instrument to gather a calibrated sounding rocket observation in coordination with the orbital satellite's observations.

Comparison of the two data sets then validates the accuracy of the SDO/EVE data, providing crucial calibration of any long-term changes in the orbital instrumentation. This will be the fourth under-flight calibration for the EVE instrument. The previous flight was successfully conducted on June 23, 2012.

The EVE calibration instrument will fly on a NASA two-stage Black Brant IX sounding rocket. It is projected to fly to an altitude of about 173 miles during a 15-minute flight. The payload will descend via a parachute and land at White Sands for recovery and use on future suborbital flights.

Thomas Woods with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is the mission principal investigator.

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Related Links
Sounding Rockets at NASA
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com






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