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SUNRISE set for launch over Northern Sweden
05.31.13
 
The NASA Scientific Balloon Program managed at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility will take to the skies over Northern Sweden in launching the largest solar telescope ever to leave the ground.

SUNRISE instrument being readied for launch at the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden The telescope, SUNRISE, is a high-resolution stratospheric solar observatory that is aiming to understand more fully the structure and dynamics of the solar magnetic field. This will be done through a time series of ultraviolet images and magnetograms.

SUNRISE’s launch window opens on June 1 and runs through July 15.

The SUNRISE payload will be carried by a 34-million cubic foot NASA scientific balloon with a suspended weight of over 7,000 pounds.This is the second Long Duration Balloon flight for the SUNRISE instrument. The first flight occurred in 2009. The team gathered large amounts of unique science data during its maiden flight, all occurring while the sun’s activity was minimal. During this flight, the sun will be at maximum solar activity, allowing scientists the opportunity to gather even more science data.

The SUNRISE telescope will be launched from Esrange Space Center near Kiruna, Sweden. The Sweden launch site is desirable because extreme northern latitudes allow for the possibility of nearly uninterrupted solar observations around the clock for up to five days. The flight trajectory will take the mission around the pole into Canada where it will be terminated and recovered.

The SUNRISE mission will be launched by NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF), and it will be monitored and controlled from the CSBF’s Operations Control Center in Palestine, Texas.

For more information on NASA’s balloon program, visit: http://www.wff.nasa.gov/balloons