Encyclopedia Astronautica
SME


American solar satellite. One launch, 1981.10.06. The Solar Mesosphere Explorer satellite was developed to investigate the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

It operated for seven years in the 1980's before power problems led to it being shut down.

The mission's specific goals were to examine the effects of changes in the solar ultraviolet flux on mesospheric ozone densities, the relationship between solar flux, ozone, and the temperature of the upper stratosphere and mesosphere, the relationship between ozone and water vapor, and the relationship between nitrogen dioxide and ozone. All instruments were turned off in December 1988 due to power constraints. Contact was lost on 14 April 1989 after a battery failure, and the vehicle re-entered on 5 March 1991.

The mission was managed for NASA by JPL, and was operated by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics of the University of Colorado.

The spacecraft was spin stabilized (~5 rpm) with a fixed solar array recharging NiCd batteries. A tape recorder was used for data storage.

The payload included an ultraviolet ozone spectrometer, 1.27 micron spectrometer, nitrogen dioxide spectrometer, a four-channel infrared radiometer, a solar ultraviolet monitor, and a solar proton alarm detector.

AKA: Solar Mesosphere Explorer.
Gross mass: 437 kg (963 lb).
Height: 1.70 m (5.50 ft).
First Launch: 1981.10.06.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 2310 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Delta 2000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 2000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons together with an Extended Long Tank core equipped with the more powerful RS-27 engine. This engine was derived from surplus H-1 engines intended for the Saturn IB booster of the Apollo programme. The Delta P upper stage was built by Douglas and used surplus Apollo lunar module engines from TRW. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • JPL American agency;manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA. More...
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NOAA American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA. More...
  • Ball American manufacturer of spacecraft. Ball Aerospace and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA. More...
  • Colorado American manufacturer of spacecraft. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

SME Chronology


1981 October 6 - . 11:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 2310. LV Configuration: Delta 2310 639/D157.
  • SME - . Payload: Solar Mesosphere Explorer. Mass: 437 kg (963 lb). Nation: USA. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: SME. Decay Date: 1991-03-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 12887 . COSPAR: 1981-100A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 335 km (208 mi). Inclination: 97.6000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. Summary: Solar Mesosphere Explorer. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1989 April 14 - .
  • Contact lost with SME. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SME. SME was developed to investigate the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's upper atmosphere. All instruments were turned off in December 1988 due to power constraints. Contact was lost on April 14, 1989 after a battery failure, and the vehicle re-entered on March 5, 1991.

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