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NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe passes system integration review

Written by  Tuesday, 26 September 2023 08:59
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NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe passes system integration review
IMAP will study the protective magnetic bubble that surrounds our solar system, called the heliosphere, and the particle acceleration that occurs across it. Credit: NASA/Princeton/Johns Hopkins APL/Josh Diaz

The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) marked the completion of an important step on the path to spacecraft assembly, test, and launch operations in late September 2023 at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland.

The IMAP team met with a review panel to evaluate the plan for integrating all systems onto the , such as the scientific instrumentation, electrical and , and .

Successful completion of this System Integration Review (SIR) means that the project can proceed with assembling and testing the spacecraft in preparation for launch. This process is a bit like a carefully choreographed dance where the instruments and are delivered to different facilities, tested together in chambers in Los Alamos, New Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; and Princeton, New Jersey; and shipped back to be integrated and tested again altogether.

On Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, the chair of the Standing Review Board announced that the IMAP project successfully passed the SIR requirements to proceed to integration and test.

"I am incredibly proud of the entire IMAP team for everyone's hard work and determination in getting us to and through this critical milestone," said David McComas, IMAP principal investigator and Princeton University professor. "We are now moving on to spacecraft integration and test, where all of the individual subsystems and instruments merge together to create our full IMAP observatory."

The IMAP mission, which will be ready to launch in 2025, will explore our solar neighborhood, decoding the messages in particles from the sun and beyond our cosmic shield. The mission will map the boundaries of the heliosphere—the electromagnetic bubble surrounding the sun and planets that is inflated by the solar wind.

David McComas leads the mission with an international team of more than 20 partner institutions. APL is managing the , building the spacecraft, and will operate the mission. IMAP is the fifth mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program portfolio. The Explorers and Heliophysics Projects Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the STP Program for the agency's Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

More information: For more information about IMAP visit: https://imap.princeton.edu

Citation: NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe passes system integration review (2023, September 26) retrieved 26 September 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-09-nasa-interstellar-probe.html
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