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VeSpR Mission to Venus

Launch Vehicle: Terrier-Black Brant Mk 1
Launch Site: White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA
NASA Center: Goddard Space Flight Center
Principal Scientists: Kelly Fast
Principal Investigator: John Clarke (Boston University)
Boston University VeSpR FAQ

VeSpR stands for the Venus Spectral Rocket. Simply put, it's a rocket telescope. VeSpR launched successfully from White Sands, N.M. on 26 November 2013.

VeSpR is a telescope which was mounted inside a sounding rocket. This suborbital rocket took the telescope to a height of 300 km in less than five minutes -- well into outer space (defined as 100 km altitude), and above most of the Earth's atmosphere in order to observe ultraviolet (UV) light from Venus, which would have been otherwise absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere. In fact, this is over half as high as the Hubble Space Telescope. This rocket is re-usuable, and after the launch, the payload (the telescope) was recovered to use again.

Four minutes and ten seconds of data may not sound like a lot, but the telescope's optics are specially designed for spectroscopic observations. In fact, because the telescope is so efficient for UV light that, it can observe in five minutes what would take Hubble four hours to observe.

Key Dates
26 Nov 2013:  Launch (8:50 p.m. (EST))
Status: Success
Fast Facts
VeSpR Facts VeSpR observed Venus for about four minutes and 10 seconds of its 10 minute suborbital flight.

VeSpR was launched via sounding rocket at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The first stage is a Terrier missile, originally built as a surface-to-air missile. The second stage is a Black Brant Mk 1 sounding rocket.

Scientists hope the data will help determine what happened to water on Venus early in its development.
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Last Updated: 27 Nov 2013