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Successful Launch of FORTIS on Nov. 20
May 11, 2013

UPDATE: May 13, 2013

NASA successfully launched the Far-ultraviolet Off Rowland-Circle for Imaging and Spectroscopy (FORTIS) experiment at 1 a.m. EDT, May 11, from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Science data was obtained and an assessment of the data is underway. The payload was recovered. FORTIS was launched on a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket and flew to an altitude of approximately 174 miles.

Checking out the new FORTIS telescope

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FORTIS undergoes testing in the sounding rocket payload facility at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Berit Bland

NASA will launch a new telescope designed to observe distant galaxies on a suborbital sounding rocket at 1 a.m. EDT, May 11, from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The observations will be conducted using the FORTIS (Far-ultraviolet Off Rowland-circle Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy) spectro/telescope developed at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Stephan McCandliss, principal investigator for the mission, said, "The goal of FORTIS is to explore the mysteries of escaping of ultraviolet radiation from the dusty confines of galaxies, using a new type of spectro/telescope with more than six times the sensitivity of our previous experiments. FORTIS can acquire spectra from forty-three individual targets simultaneously, and autonomously, within an angular region as large as the diameter of the moon (1/2 degree)."

FORTIS is to fly on a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket to an altitude of about 173 miles, providing approximately 360 seconds of exo-atmospheric observation time for FORTIS. The experiment will land via parachute approximately 50 miles from the launch site where it will be recovered. The total mission time is approximately 900 seconds from launch to landing.

More information on FORTIS, is available on the web at:

› http://hub.jhu.edu/gazette/2012/october/building-a-rocket-from-scratch
› http://krieger.jhu.edu/magazine/v10n1/it-really-is-rocket-science/

To find out more about NASA's sounding rocket missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sounding-rockets/

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Page Last Updated: June 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator