News Tip Sheet - SNOE Student Satellite Launch Now Set For Feb. 25

Published: Feb. 23, 1998

The launch of a $5 million student satellite designed and built by a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and which has been delayed by stormy weather in California since Feb. 4, is now slated for launch on Feb. 25.

The satellite, known as the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer, or SNOE, was returned to the runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Pegasus rocket on Feb. 21. The spacecraft-toting rocket was attached to an L-1011 jet aircraft that will carry it to an altitude of 40,000 feet before release. The rocket will then ignite and carry SNOE into Earth’s orbit.

“I’m more optimistic about the weather out there than I have been in almost a month,” said Stan Solomon, a research associate at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics who is coordinating the SNOE effort with LASP Professor Charles Barth. “Everything seems to be in good shape, and I think the satellite is finally going to go.”

Begun in 1995, the design and construction of SNOE has involved more than 110 students and a number of LASP faculty members and engineers. The team hopes to make contact with the satellite several hours after the 11 p.m. PST launch on Feb. 25. The satellite will be controlled 24 hours a day from the CU-Boulder campus by faculty and students.

SNOE was one of three spacecraft selected for flight by the Universities Space Research Association in 1994 as part of NASA’s Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative. The satellite will measure nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere that affects Earth’s ozone layer, the intensity of x-rays from the sun and ultraviolet light from Earth’s aurora.

For more information contact Stan Solomon at (303) 492-8609 or Jim Scott in the CU Public Relations Office at 492-3114.