SOLAR is an ESA science observatory on the Columbus Laboratory, which is part of the International Space Station. SOLAR was launched with Columbus on February 2008 aboard STS-122. It was externally mounted to Columbus with the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF). SOLAR has three main space science instruments: SOVIM, SOLSPEC and SOL-ACES. Together they provide detailed measurements of the Sun's spectral irradiance. The SOLAR platform and its instruments are controlled from the Belgian User Support and Operations Centre (B.USOC), located at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA) in Uccle, Belgium.
- SOVIM (Solar Variantions and Irradiance Monitor) instrument is based on an earlier instrument (SOVA) which flew aboard the European Retrievable Carrier, launched on STS-46 in 1992. It is designed to measure solar radiation with wavelengths from 200 nanometers - 100 micrometers. This covers near-ultraviolet, visible and infrared areas of the spectrum.
- SOLSPEC (Solar Spectral irradiance measurements) is designed to measure the solar spectral irradiance in the 165 - 3000 nanometer range with high spectral resolution.
- SOL-ACES (Auto-calibrating Extreme Ultraviolet and Ultraviolet spectrometers) consists of four grazing incidence grating spectrometers. They are designed to measure the EUV/UV spectral regime (17 nanometers - 220 nanometers) with moderate spectral resolution.
The mission was originally planned for a 2003 launch, but was delayed following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Some other components are also planned to be mounted externally on Columbus on future missions, including the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES). Another name for SOLAR may be Solar Monitoring Observatory or SMO.
- SOLAR: three years observing and ready for solar maximum - ESA
- Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus (Solar)
- "Solar Package on ISS". Belgian User Support and Operation Centre. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- Manise, Nicolas (2000-08-22). "SOVIM (Solar Variability and Irradiance Monitor)". Belgian International Space Station User Support Center. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- Wienhold, F.G.; et al. (2000-09-15). "The solar package on ISS: SOL-ACES". Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part C: Solar, Terrestrial & Planetary Science. pp. 473–476. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- International Space Station
- Solar rotation
- "Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus (Solar)". NASA. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-09-21.