NASA Standing Review Board OKs Design of Interstellar Mapping Mission

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NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe mission has passed a critical design review by the agency’s Standing Review Board.

IMAP, which will be launched in 2025 to explore the heliosphere, has some challenges to address but was deemed “good to go” by the SRB chair, the agency announced Tuesday.

The project is comprised of 10 instruments being designed and built in different parts of the globe. Three instrument suites will employ energetic neutral atoms to create a comprehensive map of the solar system’s boundaries. Other IMAP elements will use the Sun’s solar wind to continuously gather and share data on space weather conditions.

Construction already commenced for critical components in the structure, as well as flight models and instrument engineering. SpaceX was awarded a potential $109.4 million contract in 2020 to use its full-thrust Falcon 9 rocket to launch the IMAP spacecraft. Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory is the space probe’s builder and the mission’s operator.

IMAP is a multinational collaboration of 24 institutions working under NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes Program.

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