Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Launching a Sounding Rocket to Help Calibrate NASA's SDO

Tomorrow at high noon Mountain Time, the SDO EVE calibration sounding rocket will launch from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It is only 15 minutes of flight with 5 minutes of solar viewing, but we use that data to calibrate the EVE and AIA instruments on SDO. The wavelengths of light these instrument measure can't be measured from the ground. Every 2 years or so we send a copy of the EVE instrument to make the same measurements as the flight instrument that orbits the Earth. The two measurements should agree and where they don't, the on-orbit instrument data is adjusted.

More details are in the SDO EVE Calibration rocket rocket article on SpaceRef or the SDO NASA webpage.