Ten years ago today — February 5, 2002 — a Pegasus-XL rocket launched a solar flare observatory into orbit. The Pegasus’s L-1011 carrier aircraft flew out of Cape Canaveral for this launch.
(Artist’s conception of HESSI. NASA image.)
About two months after being launched, the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or HESSI, was renamed the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). It is still on-orbit and functioning today.
As some folks know, the Pegasus is special to me because I was on the Flight Readiness Review Committee for the first-ever live launch. And this seems a timely bit of space history, given the big solar flare that occurred about a week ago.
And in bonus space history: on this date 25 years ago, cosmonauts Yuri V. Romanenko and Aleksandr I. Laveykin launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on mission Soyuz TM-2. Romanenko eventually spent 326 days in space aboard the Mir space station, establishing a world record.by