Skip to Main Content


SNOE mission graphic

Student Nitric Oxide Explorer

Phase: Past

Launch Date: February 26, 1998

Mission Project Home Page -

Program(s):Heliophysics Research

Pin it

The Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE) is a small scientific spacecraft designed, built, and operated by the University of Colorado at Boulder, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

Its scientific goals are to measure nitric oxide density in the terrestrial lower thermosphere (100-200 km altitude) and analyze the energy inputs to that region from the Sun and magnetosphere that create it and cause its abundance to vary dramatically.

The SNOE spacecraft is a compact hexagonal structure, 36'' high and 39'' across its widest dimension, that weighs 254 lbs. It was launched by a Pegasus XL into a circular orbit, 580 km altitude, at 97.75 degrees inclination for Sun synchronous precession, on 26 Feb. 1998. It spins at 5 rpm with the spin axis normal to the orbit plane. It carries three instruments: an ultraviolet spectrometer to measure nitric oxide altitude profiles, a two-channel auroral photometer to measure auroral emissions beneath the spacecraft, and a five-channel solar soft X-ray photometer.

SNOE is one of three satellite projects selected for the Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative program (STEDI).  STEDI is funded by NASA and managed by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA).