The SME Mission

Solar Spectral Irradiance
Spectrum | Time Series
Nitric Oxide Data
SME Mission
Courtesy NASA/JPL

In the mid-1970's, scientists at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) of the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the Aeronomy Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder proposed a satellite mission to obtain information about the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's mesosphere. Under the sponsorship of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and with the participation of Ball Aerospace Systems Division (BASD) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME) was built and launched on October 6, 1981. Dr. Charles A. Barth was the Principal Investigator.

The SME spacecraft was outfitted with six instruments: the ultraviolet ozone spectrometer, a 1.27-micron spectrometer, a nitrogen dioxide spectrometer, a four-channel infrared radiometer, a solar ultraviolet monitor, and a solar proton alarm detector. The mission continued for seven and a half years, and SME measured ultraviolet solar flux, ozone density, and the density of other molecules important to the understanding of ozone chemistry. On April 14, 1989, contact was lost with the SME satellite, and on May 15, 1989, the SME mission was terminated.

For more information about SME Nitric Oxide data, see: