2001-2010: Astronomy, Flight & Space Missions
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum on the EUV Spectrometer
Launch date: February 22, 2001
Status: Flight failed in February 2000, same instrumentation flew again in February 2001
The Joint Astrophysical Plasmadynamic Experiment (J-PEX) mission was designed to study the quantity of helium in white dwarf stars, the signature of which can only be differentiated in the interstellar setting in the EUV range. Luxel built filters for the high resolution EUV Spectrometer aboard the sounding rocket. Even though the flight was aborted without collecting any science data in 2000, the filter survived and was flown on the repeat mission in 2001. Read more about the mission here.
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum/ Carbon, meshed Polyimide/ Boron, meshed Zirconium, meshed Aluminum
Launch date: January 12, 2003
Status: Terminated April 11, 2008
The Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer satellite (CHIPSat) was a collaborative microsatellite project involving NASA, UC Berkeley, and SpaceDev. It’s primary objective was to study hot interstellar gases, and after this year-long mission it was converted into a solar observatory until its termination. Learn more about the mission
An artistic representation of the SMART-1 satellite orbiting the moon.
Image credit: ESA
Filter type: Aluminum and Magnesium filters on the D-CIXS
Launch date: September 27, 2003
Status: Deliberately crashed into the moon’s surface September 3, 2006
SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology 1) was the first European Space Agency mission to the moon. The satellite orbited the moon and studied the lunar surface. A relatively small satellite, it pioneered the use of a solar-powered ion drive as a mode of space propulsion. Luxel filters were incorporated into the Demonstration of a Compact X-ray Spectrometer (D-CIXS), an X-Ray telescope used to identify elements on the moon’s surface. More about the mission can be found here.
One of the surface images Messenger collected during its global basemap survey of the planet Mercury.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum, Meshed Palladium/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Palladium
Launch date: August 3, 2004
Status: Crashed into Mercury’s surface on April 30, 2015, outliving its expected lifespan by nearly four years
MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury and only the second spacecraft to reach Mercury. Thus far, MESSENGER has orbited the planet over 2000 times and has imaged the entire surface. The spacecraft has collected a lot of data on the magnetic field of the planet and also confirmed the existence of polar ice. Learn more about this NASA mission here.
Filter type: Meshless LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum and LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon on the XRT
Launch date: November 20, 2004
Status: As of April 2013, all systems aboard Swift are still operational.
Swift is s a NASA space observatory containing three telescopes that specializes in studying gamma ray bursts (GRBs – powerful flashes of gamma radiation) in hopes of determining what causes them. Luxel filters were on the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) which provides spectral analysis of the GRBs. Learn more about the mission here.
Suzaku (ASTRO-EII) satellite
A 2004 image showing the building of the Suzaku satellite.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum on the XIS instrument and meshed Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide on the XRS instrument
Launch date: July 10, 2005
Status: XRS instrument shut down August 8, 2005 after series of system malfuctions; other instruments still operational
The fifth in a series of Japanese X-Ray satellites, Suzaku set out with five telescopes with high-precision instruments to study a variety of X-Ray emissions and have been particularly successful in studying neutron stars. Luxel’s filters were part of the X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) and X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) instruments. For more information about the mission, visit the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission page here.
The trajectory and approximate position of New Horizons as of May 2013.
Image credit: NASA
Filter type: Meshed Carbon/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon, Meshed Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Carbon as part of PEPSSI
Launch date: January 19, 2006
Status: Expected to arrive at Pluto in 2015
The New Horizons NASA spacecraft is on its way to the outer solar system where it will study Pluto and its moons. It’s controlled primarily from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, who co-built most of the craft along with the Southwest Research Institute. There are seven major instruments aboard, and Luxel’s filters are part of the Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) instrument in the plasma and high energy particle spectrometer suite (PAM). PEPSSI will help sample the upper atmosphere and measure the solar winds near Pluto. Learn more about the mission here.
Hinode (Solar B)
An image taken from Hinode June 5, 2012 capturing Venus transiting the sun.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum, LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Beryllium
Launch Date: Septemeber 22, 2006
A follow-up to the Yohkoh mission, Hinode is another Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency mission to study the magnetic fields of the sun. Luxel has filters on two of the three main instruments aboard Hinode: the X-Ray telescope (XRT) and Extreme-Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS). Learn more about the mission here.
STEREO "A" and "B" spacecraft
A "left eye" image of the sun from one of the STEREO spacecraft. This photo could be projected with the corresponding "right eye" photo to result in a 3D image.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: Meshed LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum and meshed Aluminum on the SECCHI instrument
Launch date: October 26, 2006
The Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) consists of two identical spacecraft launched into different orbits relative to Earth in order to provide stereoscopic images of the sun with particular focus on coronal mass ejections. Luxel’s filters were part of the Sun Earth Coronal Connection Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) instrument which contained five cameras, including an EUV imager. Find detailed information about the spacecraft as well as recent 3D images and videos on NASA’s mission page here.
Columbus Laboratory of the International Space Station
An artist's representation the SOLAR payload mounted on the Columbus module of the International Space Station.
Image Credit: ESA
Filter type: Meshed Indium, Aluminum/Carbon, Tin/Germanium, Silicon
Launch date: February 7, 2008
Columbus is a science laboratory built by the European Space Agency that is docked with the International Space Station. Luxel built filters for the SOL-ACES EUV and UV spectrometer that is part of the SOLAR observatory unit. Together with two other instruments on SOLAR, SOL-ACES helps to measure the sun’s spectral irradiance. As of 2012, the instrument provides continuous observations of the sun’s rotation. Further details on the SOLAR instrument can be found here.
A composite image showing the mineral content of the surface of the moon that faces Earth, constructed from images taken aboard the Chandrayaan-1.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter type: LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum on the C1XS instrument
Launch date: October 22, 2008
Status: Operational until August 29, 2009
Sanskrit for “moon vehicle”, Chandrayaan was India’s first lunar space mission. In addition to a probe designed for chemical study of the moon’s surface, Chandrayaan-1 was placed into orbit and included eleven instruments to image most of the moon’s surface across IR, optical, and X-Ray wavelengths. Luxel’s filters were on collimators that were part of the C1XS instrument, an X-Ray fluorescence spectrometer that maps the abundance of six elements on the lunar surface. Learn more about the mission here.
An EUV image of the sun taken from PROBA-2's SWAP telescope during a partial lunar eclipse in January 2011.
Photo credit: SWAP team at the Royal Observatory of Belgium
Filter type: Meshed Aluminum, LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum as part of the SWAP instrument
Launch date: November 2, 2009
PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy (PROBA) are the smallest European Space Agency satellites designed to flight test new technologies as a final stage in their development. In addition to technology demonstrations, PROBA-2 conducts experiments related to solar observation and space weather. Two of the five instruments on board are designed to observe the sun, including the Sun Watcher using APS image Processing (SWAP), an EUV imager that contains Luxel’s filters. You can read more about the specifics of the PROBA-2 mission here.
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
An image of a coronal hole taken May 24, 2013 from SDO's AIA instrument.
Photo credit: NASA
Filter types – Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) instrument: Zr/C, Al/Ge/C, Zr/Si/C, Al/Mg/C, Sn:Ge, C/Al/Ti/C, C/Zr/C (All meshless)
Filter types – Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument: Meshed Aluminum, meshed Zirconium, meshless LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum
Launch date: February 11, 2010
The SDO is the first mission in a NASA Living With A Star program designed to study the impacts of solar weather on Earth. University of Colorado’s EVE instrument, one of three aboard the spacecraft, measures extreme ultraviolet (EUV) irradiation from the sun. The data from this instrument will be used in part to derive models to help predict how irradiance varies based on magnetic features of the sun. EVE has four sensors, and Luxel’s filters are part of the two Multiple UV Grating Spectrographs (MEGS-A and MEGS-B). Lockheed Martin’s AIA instrument images the solar corona to help further understanding of the sun’s atmosphere.
GOES-12 through GOES-15 (M,N,O,P) weather satellites
First SXI image taken from the GOES 12 in September 2001.
Photo credit: Space Weather Prediction Center
Second image taken from the SXI instrument aboard GOES-15 on May 1, 2013.
Photo credit: NOAA
Materials used for SXI entrance and analysis filters: LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Titanium / Aluminum, Beryllium, LUXFilm® Polyimide / Tin / Silicon, LUXFilm® Polyimide/ Aluminum, other various combinations
GOES-12 (M): July 23, 2001
GOES-13 (N): May 24, 2006
GOES-14 (O): June 27, 2009
GOES-15 (P): March 4, 2010
Status: SXI operations for GOES-12 ceased April 2007; this satellite currently monitors weather in the South America region. GOES-13 witnessed a solar flare so strong in December of 2006 that its SXI was damaged. It goes in and out of orbital storage to monitor Earth-based weather and is currently operating as GOES-EAST. GOES-14 is also sometimes active, sometimes in orbital storage – all instruments on board are still operational. GOES-15 is fully active and operational and is currently functioning as GOES-WEST.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) spacecraft series operated by NOAA carry solar X-ray imager (SXI) instruments designed by Lockheed Martin to monitor the sun and help predict space weather, and this is where Luxel filters are incorporated. The GOES series of satellites also provide data for weather forecasting on Earth. Learn more about the GOES missions here.