Current Launch Status

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

Suborbital Imaging Spectrograph for Transition region Irradiance from Nearby Exoplanet host stars (SISTINE) – (NASA 36.346)

Date: Sunday, August 11, 2019
Time: 12:07 am (MDT)
Location: White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NASA’s sounding rocket facility in New Mexico. The SISTINE 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.
Update: The Suborbital Imaging Spectrograph for Transition region Irradiance from Nearby Exoplanet experiment, or SISTINE, was launched at 2:07 a.m. EDT, Sunday, Aug.11, from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The experiment flew to an altitude of 161 miles before descending by parachute. The experiment was recovered. The science team is conducting post flight analysis to determine the experiment’s performance.

SISTINE Rocket Launch Information

SISTINE is designed to enable studies of the ultraviolet radiation environment around low-mass stars and the effects of that UV on potential exoplanet atmospheres. For this mission, SISTINE aims to study how the outer envelope of stars is dispersed back into the interstellar medium by observing the science target NGC 6828, a planetary nebula.


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
June 18, 2018 7th calibration flight, NASA 36.336


CHESS Rocket Launch Information:

The Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph, or 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.

CHESS 4 (NASA 36.333) was successfully launched on a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket at 2:47 p.m. MDT, April 16 (4:47 a.m. local, April 17) from the Kwajalein Atoll in The Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The CHESS 4 mission studies the interstellar me­dium, the matter between stars. The mission focuses on translucent clouds of gas, that provide the fundamental building blocks for stars and planets. These clouds have very low densities and the only way to study them is to measure how a cloud is affected by a star—and its associated outpouring of stellar material, the stellar wind—moving through it.

The payload systems reported a nominal flight, proceeding as expected. The payload is to be recovered, making it the second NASA astronomical mission with a water recovery. Hampered by high winds since the targeted launch day of April 13, CHESS 4 left the launch pad with only 13 minutes left on the last day of the launch window.

The CHESS 4 instrument was developed by LASP. The mission was preceded by the launch of the Penn State Water Recovery X-ray (WRX) rocket experiment on April 4.

Previous CHESS Rocket Launches

May 24, 2014 CHESS launched
Feb. 21, 2016 CHESS-2 launched
June 26, 2017 CHESS-3 launched


Rocket Status updates:

SDO/EVE Rocket — Launching June 1, 2016

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. The EVE suborbital rocket launch date is now June 1, 2016. The time will be near 1 pm MT.


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.


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 »


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 »


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 »


CHESS experiment successfully launched and recovered

Monday, February 22, 2016 11:43 am , posted by Mike Bryant

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 »