NASA has selected Hawthorne, California, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to provide launch services for the agency’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission, which includes four secondary payloads. IMAP will help researchers better understand the boundaries of the heliosphere, the magnetic barrier around our solar system. This region is the region where the constant flow of particles from our Sun, known as the solar wind, collides with the wind from other stars. This collision limits the amount of harmful cosmic radiation entering the heliosphere. IMAP collects and maps the neutral particles produced by it and investigates the basic processes of how particles accelerate in space, from the point where the Sun orbits at Lagrange 1 point between the Sun and Earth.
NASA’s total cost to launch IMAP and secondary payloads is approx. 109.4 million, including launch service and other mission-related expenses.
Secondary payloads will include the IMAP launch: NASA’s Lunar Launch Mission, Opportunity Two additional NASA Heliophysics missions have yet to be named, following the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather on – Lagrange 1 (Swfo-L1) mission.
The IMAP mission aims to launch the Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket in October 2024 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA’s launch services program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will handle the SpaceX launch service. The mission is being led by Princeton University in New Jersey in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. NASA’s Goddard Space Aviation Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is responsible for the mission’s overall management, system engineering, integration, testing, and mission operations.
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