Published: Dec. 7, 1997

A CU-Boulder built satellite known as the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer has been approved for shipment by NASA officials to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for a Jan. 19 launch.

Designed and built by students, faculty and engineers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, SNOE is a scientific, Earth-orbiting satellite mission, said LASP Research Associate Stan Solomon, deputy co-investigator on the project. SNOE will carry instruments to measure nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere, the intensity of x-rays from the sun and ultraviolet light from Earth’s aurora.

SNOE will be shipped Dec. 12 by truck to Vandenberg. A Pegasus XL launch system provided by Orbital Sciences Corp. will carry it into space. The mission will be operated by students working at a control center in the LASP Space Technology Building in the CU Research Park, Solomon said. The team plans to establish radio contact with the craft one hour after launch.

SNOE is the first satellite in a national program of university-based satellite missions and was supported by a $5 million grant from NASA and the Universities Space Research Association. Mission operations funding will be supported in part by a special excellence award from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Over 100 students have participated in the SNOE project to date, he said.

“It’s been three long years of hard work to get to this point,” said Solomon. “I know that SNOE alumni throughout the country who contributed to the project are excited that we’re finally going to orbit.”

For more information or photo opportunities, contact Solomon at 492-8609 or Jim Scott in the CU-Boulder public relations office at 492-3114.