Quick Facts
Mission Name SME: Solar Mesosphere Explorer

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Download LASP SME Poster (7557 kb)
LASP Instruments Principal Investigator: Gary Rottman
Destination Low Earth Orbit
Launch Date October 6th, 1981
Launch Location Vandenberg Air Force Base
Launch Vehicle  
Mission Duration 7 1/2 years
Mission Description/
LASP involvement
LASP Divisions Involved Engineering * Science * Operations
LASP Mission Web Page
Official Mission Web Page

The Science and Goal
sme SME studied the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's mesosphere. Over its seven and a half year mission, SME measured ultraviolet solar flux, ozone density, and the density of other molecules important to the understanding of ozone chemistry. During the mission over one hundred undergraduate and graduate students were involved in nearly every aspect of SME operations, including planning and scheduling spacecraft and science activities, controlling the spacecraft and its ground support system, and analyzing spacecraft subsystem performance.


LASP Involvelment (more)
The nitric oxide data are sorted by several criteria.
  • The data are sorted in geographic coordinates for equatorial latitudes and in geomagnetic coordinates for polar latitues.
  • The data are first separated by date, taking only the spring and fall equinoxes in 1982 through 1985, and the spring equinox of 1986. The sorted data include the equinox day plus and minues 30 days.
  • The data are then sorted by indicies. The two indicies used are the geomagnetic Ap index and the F10.7 cm solar flux. The indicies are separated into low, medium, and high values as shown in the table below:
Low< 80
Med80 - 150
High> 150
Low< 10
Med 10 - 20
High> 20
  • Finally, the data are averaged resulting in profiles for the equatorial and polar regions. These regions are defined by:
Equatorial25S - 25NGeographic
Polar65N/S - 80N/SGeomagnetic
University of Colorado at Boulder

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