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HESSI spacecraft safely reaches orbit

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  • b1blancer_29501
    HESSI SPACECRAFT SAFELY REACHES ORBIT NASA S High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or HESSI, lifted off this afternoon from Cape Canaveral Air Force
    Message 1 of 702 , Feb 5, 2002
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      HESSI SPACECRAFT SAFELY REACHES ORBIT
      <br><br>NASA'S High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or HESSI,
      lifted off this afternoon from Cape Canaveral Air Force
      Station, Fla. at 2:29 p.m. EST. During its planned
      two-year mission HESSI will study the secrets of how solar
      flares are produced in the Sun's
      atmosphere.<br><br>Tucked inside a Pegasus XL rocket, attached to the under
      belly of the Orbital Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, the
      spacecraft was carried approximately 113 nautical miles
      east-southeast of the Cape to an altitude of about 39,000 feet.
      The Pegasus drop occurred at 3:56 p.m. EST, and after
      a short powered sequence, delivered the 645-pound
      HESSI spacecraft into a circular orbit 373 miles above
      the Earth, inclined at 38 degrees to the equator.
      <br><br>"We're extremely thrilled to report the Pegasus drop
      went without a hitch," said Frank Snow, HESSI Project
      Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
      Md. <br><br>Controllers at the University of
      California, Berkeley, made initial contact with the
      spacecraft at 5:33 p.m. EST. <br><br>HESSI will help unlock
      some of the secrets of these gigantic explosions in
      the Sun's atmosphere, providing scientists with the
      first high-fidelity color movies of solar flares in
      X-rays and gamma rays, which is their highest energy
      emissions. Scientists hope to capture hundreds of X-ray and
      gamma ray flares during the spacecraft's planned
      two-year mission. <br><br>Science operations should begin
      in about three weeks, after germanium detectors
      inside the<br>X-ray/gamma-ray imaging spectrometer are
      cooled to their operating temperature of minus 320
      degrees Fahrenheit, turned on and checked
      out.<br><br>HESSI is the first NASA Small Explorer mission being
      managed in the 'principal investigator' mode. Professor
      Robert Lin of the University of California, Berkeley, is
      responsible for many aspects of the mission, including the
      science instrument, spacecraft integration and
      environmental testing, and spacecraft operations and data
      analysis. <br> <br>The HESSI scientific payload is a
      collaborative effort between the University of California,
      Berkeley, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Paul
      Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, and the Lawrence
      Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley. The mission also
      involves scientific participation from France, Japan, The
      Netherlands, Scotland, and Switzerland. <br><br>The Explorers
      Program Office at Goddard manages the HESSI mission for
      NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C.
      Spectrum Astro, Inc. of Gilbert, Ariz., constructed the
      HESSI spacecraft and provided integration
      support.<br><br>The HESSI mission cost, including the spacecraft,
      science instrument, launch vehicle, and mission
      operations and data analysis, is approximately $85
      million.<br><br>For additional details about the mission, go to:
      <br><br><a href=http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/hessi target=new>http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/hessi</a>
    • b1blancer_29501
      On Feb 28th, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field swung to a strong south-pointing orientation. That, coupled with an elevated solar wind speed and density,
      Message 702 of 702 , Mar 1, 2002
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        On Feb 28th, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field
        swung to a strong south-pointing orientation. That,
        coupled with an elevated solar wind speed and density,
        triggered a G-1 class geomagnetic storm. The result was
        some high latitude aurora. See this link for a
        photgraph of aurora observed over Quebec :
        <a href=http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/images/01mar02/Moussette2.jpg target=new>http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/images/01mar02/Moussette2.jpg</a> . As of right now, there are 3 sunspot regions,
        namely 9839, 9842, and 9845, that appear to be capable
        of producing M-class flares. Regions 9839 and 9842
        are close to rotating out of view over the western
        limb of the solar disk. Sunspot region 9845, however,
        is close to the sun's central meridian. A rather
        large coronal hole is also approaching the sun's
        central meridian, and coming into an Earth-pointing
        position. High speed colar wind gusts are likely around the
        first of next week.<br><br>The current solar and
        geomagnetic conditions are :<br><br>NOAA sunspot number :
        153<br>SFI : 188<br>A index : 10<br>K index : 1<br><br>Solar
        wind speed : 372.3 km/sec<br>Solar wind density : 4.4
        protons/cc<br>Solar wind pressure : 1.1 nPa<br><br>IMF : 8.4
        nT<br>IMF Orientation : 0.7 nT North<br><br>Conditions for
        the last 24 hours : <br>Solar activity was low. The
        geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled. Stratwarm Alert
        exists Friday.<br><br>Forecast for the next 24 hours
        :<br>Solar activity will be low to moderate. The geomagnetic
        field will be quiet to unsettled.<br><br>Solar Activity
        Forecast :<br>Solar activity is expected to be low to
        moderate for the next three days. Region 9845 is a
        possible source for isolated M-class
        flares.<br><br>Geomagnetic activity forecast :<br>Geomagnetic field activity
        is expected to be mainly quiet to unsettled, until
        the onset of high speed stream effects from a
        recurrent coronal hole begin to develop by day three of the
        forecast period. Isolated active conditions are
        anticipated thereafter.<br><br>Recent significant solar flare
        activity :<br>None
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