Joint Astrophysical Plasma Experiment (JPEX)

JPEX Silver Engineering, Inc. contributed to the ARGOS program providing electrical, software, mechanical and manufacturing. The JPEX mission marks a radical advance in incorporating a spectrometer with an unprecedented combination of high effective area and high spectral resolving power. The JPEX experiment payload is launched on 
a sounding rocket with the scientific goal to understand the evolutionary paths which lead 
from the diverse central stars of planetary nebulae to the observed population of white dwarfs.

Silver Engineering, Inc. designed the JPEX sounding rocket CCD camera interface box and the BLDC motor controller for the detector door. SEI designed the rocket interconnect systems and is responsible for electrical interface management.

Silver Engineering, Inc. designed and built the JPEX ground support equipment that supports integration and test of the rocket during rocket integration and launch preparations.

CCD Camera Interface (CCDC Buffer)

  • Buffers image for slower speed transmission to PCM Encoder
  • 80C51 based control with Actel 1280 logic section
  • SRAM buffer storage
  • Sounding rocket flight duration

CCDC Power Supply

  • Interpoint DC-DC converters for camera and buffer electronics
  • V, I, and T telemetry points

Launch of JPEX Rocket


The JPEX sounding rocket was launched February 21, 2001 from White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico. The flight was highly successful in the acquisition of four high-resolution spectra (from the four multilayer-coated diffraction gratings) of the white dwarf star G191-B2B, which was the sole target of the mission. The pointing control and aspect camera worked flawlessly, enabling to correct the spectral images down to the arc-second level, something that may have never been done before on sounding rocket flights except when pointing at the sun (a brighter and easier target).

Some quick-look spectra will be out soon, but the real science questions regarding helium in the star's outer atmosphere and complex and difficult questions (because the spectra are quite complex) shall demand a full analysis with the highest spectral resolution from the instrument.


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