PHOCUS rocket successfully launched RSS

21 Jul 2011

Studying effects of greenhouse gases

PHOCUSThe atmospheric research rocket PHOCUS was successfully launched by SSC's launch team from Esrange Space Center today at 9.00 am (local time).

The rocket carried 18 scientific experiments on a ballistic flight reaching an altitude of 107 km. While passing through the upper atmosphere all instruments were active to measure and take samples of particles in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. The scientific objective is to study the chemistry of the noctilucent clouds that occur in this part of the atmosphere. Learning about these clouds, how they are composed and formed, is important to understand various atmospheric phenomena such as activities and changes caused by greenhouse gases.

PHOCUS payload and helicopterThe scientific payload landed with a parachute after the 15 minutes flight. It has now being recovered by helicopter for further analysis by the science teams, who are based at Esrange during the campaign.

− The flight was really successful, says project managerKrister Sjölander, SSC. PHOCUS is the scientifically most complex rocket ever launched from Esrange. We have all been working on this project for a long time. SSC is responsible for all onboard and ground systems, we have developed a new service module and we have supported the science teams with the development of the instrument modules. All eighteen experiments and instruments worked nominally at the exact given time, and I hope the scientists will be happy with the results.

The science teams are led by the Department of Meteorology, StockholmUniversity, and come from Sweden, the U.S., Germany, Norway and Austria. The project is financed by the Swedish National Space Board.

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The PHOCUS Rocket Project at Esrange, June-July 2011
Swedish National Space Board


Krister Sjölander, Project manager, SSC, 

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