Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS) 3

  • Mission
  • Vehicle
  • Launch
  • Photos

CHESS studies translucent clouds in the interstellar medium (ISM). CHESS allows measurement of the composition, motion and temperature of this interstellar material in unprecedented detail, as well as, takes a snapshot of the raw materials available that were needed to develop planets such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. High-resolution absorption line spectroscopy when looking toward hot stars, such as β Sco1 (beta Scorpii) the target for CHESS, provides a rich set of diagnostics with which to simultaneously measure the temperature, composition, and velocity fields of the solar neighborhood.

CHESS-3 will be used to demonstrate new technologies that continue our program of UV hardware demonstration to support efficient UV spectrographs on future large NASA astrophysical missions (e.g., the LUVOIR Surveyor). The instrument has been upgraded from the last flight and includes a new, higher-efficiency echelle that will allow for the first high resolution (R > 120,000) far-UV spectroscopic observation of β Sco1.

This is the third flight of the CHESS payload.

The Principal Investigator is Dr. Kevin France/University of Colorado.

More information on CHESS 3: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-funded-chess-mission-will-check-out-the-space-between-stars

Drawing of a Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocketThe Black Brant 9 is a two stage sounding rocket with a Terrier first stage and Black Brant second stage. The Black Brant 9 can reach altitudes of about 600 km. Payloads weighing from 400 to 1200 pounds can be flown.

Additional sounding rocket vehicles

Google Earth Map showing White Sands Missile Range.

The CHESS 3 mission was launched from White Sands Missile Range, NM on June 26, 2017.