NASA’s small heliophysics satellites will launch alongside an astronomy project – BollyInside

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Four small satellites designed to study the solar wind will fly into space on Falcon 9 in 2025 using NASA’s astrophysics mission.

NASA announced on August 3 that the Polarimetry (PUNCH) mission to unify the Corona and Heliosphere, a set of four small satellites, will fly aboard NASA’s space history spectrophotometer Falcon 9 launch. Did. Age of Reionization and Ice Explorer (SPHEREx) missions.

NASA awarded SpaceX his $98.8 million Falcon 9 launch contract in February 2021 on his SPHEREx alone. The agency updated SpaceX’s contract to include PUNCH at the same launch on July 14, but did not announce any changes to the contract value. Commenting on the ridesharing announcement, Craig DeForest, PUNCH principal investigator for the Southwest Research Institute Statement, said:

The launch is scheduled for April 2025, the date NASA announced when it gave SpaceX the order to launch SPHEREx. PUNCH previously said he was scheduled to launch in October 2023, but the 18-month offset gives him “new schedule flexibility that eases schedule constraints due to challenges in the supply chain.” says NASA.

SPHEREx’s small size indicated at the time of the award that NASA could add other spacecraft to the launch. In recent years, the agency has attempted to use excess capacity in launches procured for science missions to fly additional spacecraft.

PUNCH he consists of four satellites, each weighing about 40 kg. The satellite will enter a sun-synchronous orbit along the Terminator and provide continuous observations of the Sun. The spacecraft will carry instruments to study how the solar corona transitions into the solar wind. SPHEREx itself is a small spacecraft weighing about 200kg. It carries a wide-field telescope that makes astronomical observations every six months and collects spectra from hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies.

The ride-sharing approach reduces costs, but can also create scheduling issues. NASA originally planned to fly a small lunar orbit, the Lunar Trailblazer, as a vehicle for the IMAP (Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe) mission. However, Lunar Trailblazer he should be ready to launch in late 2022, while IMAP won’t be ready to launch until early 2025.

NASA announced in June that he would withdraw the Lunar Trailblazer from his IMAP launch and instead launch it as a secondary payload on his IM-2 lunar lander for the commercial lunar mission Intuitive Machines. IM-2 She is scheduled to launch in 2023.

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