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This image shows an artist's rendition of the HESSI spacecraft with the Earth in the background. The lower left image shows a picture of the Sun taken by the Yohkoh satellite. The lower right image or inset shows an enlargement of a solar flare taken in the x-ray segment of light.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

HESSI is Off!
News story originally written on February 6, 2002

HESSI had a hard time getting off the ground! First the spacecraft was damaged in ground vibration testing and had to be fixed. Then there were problems with HESSI's launch vehicle. But HESSI was launched successfully on February 5, aboard a Pegasus XL rocket. Early signs show that everything is going fine with the mission. Scientists are looking forward to the information HESSI will tell us about how the Sun affects the Earth.

HESSI (the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager) is NASA's newest mission built to study the Sun. Specifically, HESSI will study solar flares. Solar activity like flares can have a huge effect on Earth. Particles released during a solar flare can reach Earth causing strong geomagnetic storms, auroras and electrical power blackouts. So, it's important for us to understand solar flares. HESSI will help us do just that!

The total cost of the HESSI mission is $85 million.

Last modified February 6, 2002 by Jennifer Bergman.

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