This is the original Spartain flight instrument carried into space five times in the Shuttle payload bay and deployed for the duration of each mission into a parallel orbit with Shuttle. The SPARTAN program was created by NASA in the 1980s to replace its suborbital sounding rocket program. The scientific payloads for SPARTAN therefore were of the same order as those formerly carried aloft by Aerobees and other sounding rockets. This retrievable system as presently instrumented houses an ultraviolet coronagraph from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and a white light coronagraph from the Goddard Space Flight Center. These devices use internal and external means of occulting the solar photosphere to reveal the structure of the sun's faint outer atmosphere. They and other similar instruments studied the solar corona on five separate occasions and played a part in numerous Shuttle exercises.
This particular SPARTAN 2101 configuration was reassembled by Swales, Inc., under NASA contract, for display at the Hazy Center in 2003. They reintegrated both the Goddard and SAO coronagraphs.