SOHO support for the Shuttle mission
3 November 1998SOHO has been providing support for the Spartan 201-5 mission, which was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) on 1 November and successfully captured again two days later.
Spartan 201 is a small, Shuttle-launched and -retrieved satellite designed to perform remote sensing of the very hot outer layers of the Sun's atmosphere or corona. The basic Spartan carrier is an autonomous, reusable, three-axis stabilized, free-flying spacecraft. This was its its fifth scheduled flight.
Spartan carries two instruments, the Ultraviolet Coronal Spectrometer (UVCS/Spartan) and the White Light Coronagraph (WLC/Spartan).
The UVCS is being used to provide information on the physical conditions of the solar corona during the rising phase of the solar activity cycle. It will also be used to update the calibration of the Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer aboard SOHO. This cross-calibration will provide continuity between the earlier results of Spartan 201 (from the period of the polar passes of the ESA/NASA Ulysses spacecraft) and the recent results from SOHO; and consequently, it will provide information on how the corona varies from the period before activity minimum to the period near the time of maximum solar activity.
Current coronal images including later Spartan WLC and SOHO/LASCO images are available at: http://thalia.gsfc.nasa.gov/~gibson/SPARTAN/
Information on SPARTAN at: http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/spartan/