1991-2000: Astronomy, Flight & Space Missions
MSSTA Sounding Rocket
An image taken from the MSSTA sounding rocket during its first flight in 1991 showing the 20,000 K range of the sun. Photo credit: NASA
Filter types: Silver, Lexan/Yttrium/Silicon, Aluminum/Yttrium/Carbon, Silicon/Phth/Yttrium, Titanium, various other combinations
Launch dates: May 13, 1991; November 3, 1994; April 10, 2002
Status: Three successful flights
The Multi-Spectral Solar Telescope Array (MSSTA) was a sounding rocket built by Stanford that tested new technologies for EUV imaging of the sun. Each of the three successful flights contained between 11 and 19 telescopes that were the precursors for the instruments flown on mission such as SOHO (1995) and TRACE (1998). Read more about MSSTA here.
Yohkoh (Solar A)
An image of the sun taken from the Yohkoh satellite in November 1991. Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Lexan/Aluminum
Launch date: August 1991
Status: Operated until December 2001 (SXT ceased working 1992)
A Japan/US/UK collaboration that collected data on the sun’s corona and solar flares via four instruments. The name of the satellite, Yohkoh, means “sunbeam” in Japanese. Luxel entrance filters were part of the soft X-Ray telescope (SXT) which unfortunately failed in November 1992. More information about the mission here.
An extreme ultraviolet image of the Hyades Star Cluster as seen from the EUVE. Image credit: NASA
Filter type: Lexan/Boron, Aluminum/Titanium/Carbon, Aluminum/Titanium/Antimony, Tin, Aluminum, Indium/Tin, Aluminum/Carbon (all meshed)
Launch date: June 7, 1992
Status: Active until January 31, 2001
The Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) was a NASA satellite that observed wavelengths from 70Å – 760Å. The first dedicated EUV mission, it spent the first six months conducting an all-sky survey and then conducted point observations for the rest of its life. Get more details about the mission here.
Filter type: Aluminum/ Lexan/ Aluminum
Launch date: April 15, 1993
Status: Operated until April 29, 2005
The Array of Low Energy X-Ray Imaging Sensors (ALEXIS) was a Los Alamos National Laboratory satellite built to monitor ultra-soft X-Ray and EUV galactic phenomena. Read more about the features of the satellite here.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
An image of the sun taken through the extreme ultraviolet imaging telescope on SOHO April 3, 2013. Images are taken at several wavelengths to view different depths of the solar atmosphere.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum/LUXFilm® Polyimide entrance filters for the EIT
Launch date: December 1995
Status: Scheduled to be operational through 2014.
A joint effort between the European Space Agency and NASA, SOHO orbits around the sun 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. It monitors the solar interior, surface, and atmosphere and takes daily images of the sun. One use of this information is to help scientists predict space weather. Luxel built entrance filters for the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) that focuses on low coronal structure. Learn more about this mission from NASA and ESA.
Launch date: April 30, 1996
Status: Active until April 29, 2003 when it de-orbited
This Italian-Dutch X-Ray satellite, which contained five instruments, made key discoveries about gamma ray bursts (GRBs) leading to over 1500 scientific publications. Read more about the mission here.
XQC Sounding Rocket
One of the microcalorimeters on the XRC sounding rocket.
Photo credit: University of Wisconsin
Filter type: Meshed and meshless Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide
Launch date: June 3, 1996 and March 28, 1999
Status: Two successful flights, one failed flight
The X-Ray Quantum Calorimeter (XQC) sounding rocket contained a soft x-ray spectrometer and was an experiment both to test new technologies and gather x-ray emission data during a 240 second observation window. Learn more about the rocket flights here.
Filter type: SEPICA – LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum particle counter windows
ULESIS – LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum/LUXFilm® Polyimide proportional counter windows
Launch date: August 25, 1997
Status: SEPICA stopped operating in 2008 due to failed gas valves, but the spacecraft is estimated to be operational until ~2024
ACE observes galactic particles and monitors solar winds. Real-time data from ACE allows for more accurate space weather forecasts, including warning of solar storms. Luxel filters operated as particle counter windows in the Solar Energetic Particle Ionic Charge Analyzer (SEPICA) instrument and proportional counter windows in the Ultra Low Energy Isotope Spectrometer (ULESIS). Learn more about the mission here.
Filter type: LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon on grids
Launch date: October 15, 1997
Status: Reached Saturn’s orbit July 1, 2004 – expected to be active into 2017
This spacecraft, a collaboration between NASA and sixteen European countries, conducted missions studying Earth, Venus, and Jupiter on its way to Saturn. Upon reaching Saturn, the Huygens probe separated from the Cassini orbiter and landed on the moon Titan. Learn more about Cassini’s missions and see the latest images from the orbiter here.
Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE)
Solar coronal loops imaged through a 171Å filter from TRACE in September 2005.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum/Carbon
Launch date: April 1998
Status: Obtained its last image June 21, 2010
TRACE was a NASA small explorer mission to collect high resolution images of the solar corona, transition region, and photosphere in order to study the solar magnetic field. Images from TRACE have contributed to more than 1000 scientific publications. Details about the mission as well as an extensive image gallery can be viewed here.
Filter type: HRC -Aluminum/LUXFilm® Polyimide
ACIS – Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum
Launch date: July 23, 1999
Considered a revolutionary achievement in the history of astronomy, Chandra is a NASA telescope designed to observe X-Ray emissions from all types of galactic phenomena including exploded stars and clusters of galaxies. At its launch, it was capable of detecting X-Rays 100 times fainter than any previous telescope. Luxel built UV ion shields for the high resolution camera (HRC) which was part of the science instrument module (SIM). We also provided optical blocking filters for the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS). Learn more about Chandra here.
Filter type: Silicon/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon and Carbon/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon
Launch date: March 25, 2000
Status: Operated until December 2005
The Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft was the first dedicated to studying the Earth’s magnetosphere. In particular, it provided global images of the magnetosphere in order to study how it responds to solar winds. It contained three different neutral atom images, and Luxel filters were part of the High Energy Neutral Atom (HENA) Imager which measured the 10-500 keV range. The mission page can be viewed here.
Filter type: Aluminum/LUXFilm® Polyimide on the SXC
Launch date: October 9, 2000
Status: Operated until March 2007
The High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) is a small satellite that studies gamma ray bursts operated by the Center for Space Research at MIT. HETE-2 was launched four years after HETE was lost in launch. Luxel had filters aboard the soft X-Ray camera (SXC) that was built at MIT.