SpaceX bags stellar NASA’s agreement for IMAP mission

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Harsirat Kaur
Harsirat Kaur
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SpaceX is an aerospace company that is always on the business forefront of doing interstellar projects. It is an American manufacturing company that offers space transportation services. Further, its satellites and rockets are in the news, all the time. However, its tie-ups with other space organizations really set the bar high for itself as well. NASA’s IMAP mission is an outstanding earth mission that SpaceX landed the contract of. IMAP stands for Interstellar Mapping and Accelerating Probe. It is a heliophysics mission that aims at studying the acceleration of energetic parties and the interaction of the solar wind.

SpaceX wins NASA's IMAP mission
Source: NASA

About IMAP mission

In NASA’s official contract blog statement titled ‘NASA Awards Launch Services Contract For IMAP Mission’, it gave its declaration officially. The aerospace organization selected SpaceX’s location at Hawthorne, California. The main aim is to collect and map neutral particles in the heliosphere and investigate how they accelerate in the space. In addition, Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will provide the launch services for the IMAP mission. The mission will launch in October 2024. Also, it will use a SpaceX rocket named Falcon 9 Block 5 via Cape Canaveral SLC-40.

The IMAP mission has four science objectives, whiich are:

  • First, improve understanding of the properties of the local interstellar medium (LISM).
  • Second, understand the spatial evolution of the interaction of solar wind and interstellar medium interact.
  • Third, identify the processes regarding the magnetic field of the Sun.
  • Lastly, research the particle injection and acceleration processes near the Sun.

SpaceX wins NASA's IMAP mission
Source: Tech Startups

NASA’s official contract to SpaceX

Additionally in the same contract, NASA officially declares that along with the launch services, SpaceX will also offer four secondary payloads. thereby, they are:

  • NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer mission
  • Two additional NASA heliophysics missions of TBA opportunity
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) mission

Furthermore, the mission will also understand how the Sun’s particles which collide with winds from their stars accelerate, from its vantage pint (Lagrange Point 1) between Sun and Earth. The total cost of the IMAP mission and the secondary payloads, included, amounts to approximately USD 109.4 million. In addition, these costs also include the launch service and its related costs. The mission will officially take off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The IMAP mission has Princeton University David J. McComes as its leader.

Furthermore, the mission will come into existence in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. The main responsibility of the entire heliosphere mission is in the lap of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Thus, the organization will look into the overall management, system engineering, integration, and testing operations. Hence, this is a glorious collaboration for SpaceX and its portfolio in spatial ventures.

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