Case Study: Instruments


Agency: NASA/NRL

SECCHI is a suite of five scientific telescopes that observe the solar corona and inner heliosphere from the surface of the Sun to the orbit of Earth. It flies on STEREO, which is composed of twin NASA spacecraft.

Launched in October of 2006 from the Kennedy Space Center, SECCHI provides data for understanding solar activity, including Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). SECCHI provides data that helps to answer such questions as: How does a CME start? What increases its speed? How does it interact with the heliosphere? How does it cause disturbances in space weather?

Space Systems Research Corporation personnel served as program manager, deputy program manager, and deputy mission operations manager. Working day-to-day with NASA, SSRC's roles included managing the design, fabrication, integration, testing, and calibration. SSRC also ensured delivery of the program, integrating it with the STEREO spacecraft, and provided launch support and mission operations. In conjunction with its day-to-day operations, SSRC also managed 18 subcontractors and three foreign partners that provided hardware elements and technical support.

SSRC was brought onto SECCHI at a time when cost and schedule issues were impacting the program. SSRC worked with NRL’s SECCHI team and NASA’s STEREO management to restructure the program and move it on to a highly successful mission. Note: SECCHI is named for the Italian astrophysicists Angelo Pietro Secchi (1818-1878) who used photography to record solar eclipses.


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