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.