SPECTRE's Press Release Page
SPECTRE's Contact Information

Please contact Shauna LaFauci for further information regarding SPECTRE.

Contact Information:
Shauna LaFauci
Boston University
Office of Public Relations


(Boston, Mass.) - Three years ago, five undergraduate students at Boston University were faced with a choice: take a final exam in an introductory astronomy class or develop a NASA grant proposal for a rocket experiment. Today, a large team of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty are on the verge of watching that proposal take flight.

NASA selected SPECTRE, or the Student-run Program for Exoatmospheric Collecting Technologies and Rocket Experiment, as part of its Student Launch Program (SLP) initiative. NASA provided the project funding and also a Nike-Orion sounding rocket for use in the experiment.

Selected as one of three finalists, from a pool of 30 applicants for the program, SPECTRE will be the first rocket experiment in this initiative to launch into space. Over 66 B.U. students and faculty have contributed to the science, theory, design, instrument development and testing of SPECTRE.

SPECTRE has provided an outstanding opportunity for students to participate in a real-life rocket project," says Professor Supriya Chakrabarti, director of the Center for Space Physics. "By utilizing an innovative combination of undergraduate engineering teams, faculty consultation, and industrial partners, B.U. has developed a high caliber science program that is committed to providing practical hands-on engineering and astronomy to students."

The SPECTRE experiment is designed to measure high energy and visible radiation, observing the way that different types of radiation are absorbed by various atmospheric constituents. Because the experiment package is mounted on a rocket and will travel 100 kilometers above the earth's surface, the data obtained from SPECTRE will enable researchers to demonstrate how the absorption and emission properties of the atmosphere change with altitude.

Due to the rapid depletion of the ozone layer and the rise of skin cancer and global warming, studies that examine radiation levels and the ozone layer have become increasingly important to scientists and the general public.

"I had always dreamed of working in space, but I never thought that I would get the opportunity to learn practical engineering, astronomy and rocket science skills while I was an undergraduate," says David Nghiem, one of the five original project founders and the project manager. "For the last three years I have been working on SPECTRE and I can't wait to see it launch."

The local industrial partners that have supported the development of SPECTRE are Amptek Inc., Bedford, MA, and the College of Engineering Department of Electrical Computer at Boston University. SPECTRE is scheduled to launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, on September 17, between 11 AM and 1 PM EST, when the sun is at its peak, on board a Nike-Orion rocket. The rocket will travel in space for approximately five minutes.

For additional, information and images of SPECTRE visit the website: http://net.bu.edu/spectre/spectre.html

View Webcast of the Launch from Wallops Island, Virginia
Date: Friday, September 17th.
Time: 12-1 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
Where:http://www.wff.nasa.gov/pages/srlaunch.html. (Requires Real Player G2).
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David Nghiem
Last modified: Fri Aug 13 14:05:22 EDT 1999