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LASP Rocket Program

LASP rocket program team members stand before a sounding rocket at the White Sands Missile Range in 2011. (Courtesy LASP)

LASP was originally founded to develop a stabilized platform for instruments launched aboard sub-orbital rockets. Our rocketry program remains strong today; currently, it’s supported by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) mission in order to calibrate the SDO EUV Variability Experiment (EVE).

Sounding rocket launches are planned annually throughout the SDO mission’s five-year duration. We provide the scientific payload; the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Flight Facility and their subcontractors provide the rocket motors and control subsystems as part of the NASA Sounding Rockets Program. EVE calibration flights are supported by the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSROC).

LASP often works with organizations such as the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) to design and develop rocket payloads.

The LASP rocket program investigators are as follows:

  • Tom Woods, PI, is responsible for instrument hardware and solar UV irradiance analyses, and is the PI of the EVE instrument and the Solar EUV Experiment (SEE) onboard the NASA TIMED mission. Contact: 303-492-4224
  • Frank Eparvier is responsible for the solar EUV irradiance instruments and analyses. Contact: 303-492-4546
  • Andrew Jones is responsible for the solar EUV irradiance instruments and analyses. Contact: 303-735-0914
  • Amir Caspi is responsible for the solar X-ray irradiance instruments. Contact: 303-735-5326

The LASP rocket program engineers are as follows:

  • Michael Klapetzky, contact: 303-492-1152
  • Rick Kohnert, contact: 303-492-6804
  • Greg Ucker, contact: 303-492-5795

Current update

The following video shows the successful NASA 36.286 launch on June 23, 2012, from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The scientific rocket carried a near-replica of the SDO EVE satellite to check the performance of the EVE optical system. Both EVE and the prototype were built at LASP.

Based on the real time data collected from this launch, all of the rocket EVE instrument channels made excellent solar EUV irradiance measurements. For a summary report of the flight, please visit http://lasp.colorado.edu/rocket/woods_36286_flight_summary.pdf.

The next rocket payload launch is planned for 2013, also from the White Sands Missile Range. This flight will provide the fourth underflight calibration for the EVE instrument.

(Video courtesy Chris Jeppesen/LASP)