Quick Facts: Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite/Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (UARS/SOLSTICE)

Mission Introduction

UARS Satellite

UARS measured ozone and chemical compounds found in the ozone layer which affect ozone chemistry and processes. It also measured winds and temperatures in the stratosphere as well as the energy input from the Sun. (Courtesy NASA/GSFC)

UARS helped scientists understand the energy input, chemistry and dynamics of the upper atmosphere and the interaction between the upper and lower atmosphere. Throughout its remarkable mission, UARS made observations that led to major scientific discoveries. UARS confirmed the role of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in ozone depletion and clarified chemical processes that cause the Antarctic ozone hole.

LASP Roles

LASP provided:

  • SOLar STellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE)
  • SOLSTICE Principal Investigator, Gary Rottman
  • Mission operations for SOLSTICE

LASP Instrument

The primary scientific objective for the SOLSTICE program was to make precise and accurate measurements of the solar ultraviolet (UV) spectral irradiance over the spectral range 119 to 420 nm. SOLSTICE included three spectrometers to measure over this spectral range and also had the unique capability of monitoring a number of bright stars for deriving the SOLSTICE instrumental degradation rates.

For more information about the UARS-SOLSTICE mission, see:

Quick Facts

SOLSTICE Instrument

SOLSTICE was a three channel grating spectrometer that used the same optical elements for both the solar and stellar observations but used interchangeable entrance apertures, band passes, and integration times to accommodate the eight orders of magnitude difference between the solar and stellar irradiances. (Courtesy LASP)

Launch date: September 12, 1991
Launch location: Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Launch vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Mission target: Earth orbit
Mission duration: 14 years
Other key dates:

  • UARS officially decommissioned: December 14, 2005

Other organizations involved:

  • NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)