Current Launch Status

Updates of recent activity can be found at the bottom of the page.

CHESS-3

Date: Monday, June 26, 2017
Time: 11:10 pm (MST)
Location: White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NASA’s sounding rocket facility in New Mexico. The CHESS program is supported through NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program at the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA’s Heliophysics Division manages the sounding rocket program.

CHESS Rocket Launch Information:

The CHESS rocket program at LASP is led by principal investigator, Kevin France, and is supported through NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program at Wallops. NASA’s Heliophysics Division manages the sounding rocket program.

The Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph, or CHESS, will fly on a NASA suborbital sounding rocket on its third flight in three years to study the atoms and molecules in the interstellar medium. CHESS-3 builds on the first two flights of CHESS in May 2014 and February 2016, respectively, and will be the mission’s most detailed survey yet. The scientists have used each to trial and improve the technology; the upcoming flight sports an upgraded diffraction grating, which reflects light and separates it into its different wavelengths.

The CHESS spectrograph provides information on how much of any given wavelength of light is present. CHESS-3 will train its eye at Beta Scorpii—a hot, brightly shining star in the Scorpius constellation well-positioned for the instrument to probe the material between the star and our own solar system. As light from Beta Scorpii streams toward Earth, atoms and molecules—including carbon, oxygen and hydrogen—block the light to varying degrees along the way.

CHESS will measure the composition, motion and temperature of interstellar material in unprecedented detail. Studying the interstellar medium allows investigators to look at two things. The first is to study the distribution of the raw materials available—such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen—for future generations of stars and planets. The second is to better understand the chemical and temperature structure of the Milky Way galaxy by measuring the temperature, composition, and velocity fields of the solar neighborhood.

Using this information on the availability and behavior of materials in space will allow scientists to predict if planets will form with atmospheres dominated by water or carbon-monoxide, making the worlds more or less likely to be potentially habitable.

Previous CHESS Rocket Launches

May 24, 2014 CHESS launched
Feb. 21, 2016 CHESS-2 launched

Links:

SDO/EVE Rocket Launch Information:

The SDO/EVE rocket program at LASP receives support from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) mission in order to calibrate the SDO EUV Variability Experiment (EVE). Built and controlled by LASP, the EVE instrument measures solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) irradiance, or the energy from the Sun that heats most of Earth’s thermosphere. EUV data help scientists understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space environment.

Sounding rocket launches are planned annually throughout the SDO mission’s five-year duration to ensure the accuracy of EVE-collected data by measuring any instrument degradation between the different rocket flights.

Previous SDO/EVE Rocket Launches

Feb. 11, 2010 SDO launched
May 3, 2010 1st underflight calibration rocket flight, NASA 36.258
March 23, 2011 2nd rocket flight, NASA 36.275
June 23, 2012 3rd rocket flight, NASA 36.286
Oct. 21, 2013 4th rocket flight, NASA 36.290
May 21, 2015 5th calibration flight, NASA 36.300
June 1, 2016 6th calibration flight, NASA 36.318

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Rocket Status updates:

SDO/EVE Rocket — Launching June 1

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 4:39 pm , posted by Tom Woods

May 24:  The NASA 36.318 SDO EVE calibration rocket is on the rail and has passed its Vertical test on Monday May 23.  However, the winds are not favorable at WSMR for any launches this week.  WSMR has assigned the next launch opportunity for this rocket on June 1 at 19:00 UT.

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SDO/EVE Rocket — Integration and Test ahead of schedule

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 12:20 pm , posted by Tom Woods

May 17:   The integration and test (I&T) for the NASA 36.318 rocket payload is slightly ahead of schedule and so the movement to the rail will start one day early on this Thursday (5/19/16).  The rocket launch date / time is still on for May 25 at 19 UT.

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SDO/EVE Rocket — Tests successful

Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:21 am , posted by Tom Woods

May 11:  The NASA 36.318 rocket payload has completed all of its environmental tests successfully (vibration test, bend test, and spin balance).  The rocket team will start final checks and preparations for flight.  The Horizontal test is scheduled for next Thursday followed by going to the rail on Friday.  Staffing conflicts between MInXSS CubeSat commissioning… Read more »

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SDO/EVE Rocket — Electrical Interface Integration Complete

Friday, May 6, 2016 9:34 am , posted by Tom Woods

May 5:   The electrical interface integration for NASA 36.318 rocket has been completed.  This includes safe-to-mate checks, telemetry data verification, and command uplink verification.  The mechanical integration is planned for tomorrow along with the pre-environmental sequence (functional) tests.  Everybody pitched in and we had a fun Thursday Taco lunch at launch complex 36 (LC-36, location… Read more »

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SDO/EVE Rocket Payload Arrives at WSMR

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 3:51 pm , posted by Tom Woods

May 2:   The NASA 36.318 rocket payload (SDO EVE calibration rocket experiment) made it to WSMR today and will begin integration tomorrow.  It was a wintry mix of snow and rain while packing up the rocket payload and rocket lab supplies on last Friday and the drive down on Sunday, but everything and everybody arrived… Read more »

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CHESS experiment successfully launched and recovered

Monday, February 22, 2016 11:43 am , posted by Tom

The NASA/CU 36.297 UG rocket mission successfully launched from White Sands, New Mexico on Feb. 21, 2016 at 9:15 p.m. MST. The 1,108 pound CHESS (Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph) payload flew to an altitude of 191 miles (307 km) and observed several interstellar atomic and molecular transitions on the sightline towards epsilon Persei during… Read more »

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