The Multi-Spectral Solar Telescope Array:
1991 May 13

The MSSTA (right) is a cylindrical payload about six feet long and 22" in diameter. The aluminum truss is in three sections (front, middle and rear) and is capable of handling up to 22 optical elements (more if it were possible to arrange things like a TARDIS ).

This flight carried seven Ritchey-Chrétien telescopes, two Cassegrain telescopes, (one on each side), a number of Herschellian telescopes and the Lockheed SPARCS LISS and MASS sun sensors. These telescopes are secured within the payload and launched atop a Terrier Black Brant IX from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The telescopes were carried to a peak altitude of 230 km and remained out of the lower atmosphere for approximately 6 minutes.

MSSTA is a joint project between NASA/MSFC and Stanford University.

Some Pictures From this Flight

A legend for the images
  • Wavelength: 17.3 nm
  • Line: Fe IX and Fe X
  • Temperature: 900,000 K
  • Telescope: Ritchey-Chrétien
  • Wavelength: 19.3 nm
  • Line: Fe XII
  • Temperature: 1,500,000 K
  • Telescope: Herschellian
  • Wavelength: 21.1 nm
  • Line: Fe XIV
  • Temperature: 2,500,000 K
  • Telescope: Cassegrain
Of course, the fun continues with the November 1994 flight.

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