Fact Sheet: SNOE Satellite

Published: Feb. 1, 1998

* The Universities Space Research Association, which selected SNOE for development and flight, is a consortium of U.S. universities administering the Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative program for NASA. There are 82 participating universities in USRA.

* SNOE follows in the footsteps of LASP's Solar Mesosphere Explorer satellite, which was designed by LASP, built by Ball Aerospace for NASA and which orbited Earth from 1981 to 1988. Nicknamed "The Classroom in Space," SME measured ozone and solar radiation 30 miles to 50 miles above Earth and provided CU researchers with some of the first evidence for ozone depletion and new information on the sun's variability over time.

* SNOE will carry an ultraviolet spectrometer and two photometers to measure the concentrations, variability and chemistry of nitric oxide in the middle and upper atmosphere. Measuring the effects of the sun's x-ray radiation and magnetic field on nitric oxide production in Earth's atmosphere should provide new information about variability in the upper atmosphere.

* The SNOE spacecraft will be controlled from the mission operations center in LASP’s Space Technology Building in the CU Research Park under the direction of research associate Randy Davis. LASP is currently controlling two British technology satellites from the facility and will begin controlling the Quicksat satellite in 1999 that is now being built by Ball Aerospace.

* The SNOE team worked with students in a Computer-Aided Design class at Arapahoe High School, who drafted a diagram of SNOE integrated into the Pegasus launch vehicle. The high school class was taught by Mike Ribelin.

* Out of the 110 CU students who participated in SNOE, 53 worked in paid positions during the course of the three-year project. A series of launch vehicle delays pushed the actual launch back nearly 10 months.

* Ball Aerospace provided the lab facilities for a series of SNOE stress tests last fall to ensure the satellite could withstand the harsh environment of space.