NASA selects SpaceX to launch mission studying interstellar space – Spaceflight Now

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NASA selects SpaceX to launch mission studying interstellar space  Spaceflight NowNASA, SpaceX team up to study Solar System's mysterious magnetic shield  InverseSpaceX wins launch contract for NASA space science mission  SpaceNewsSpaceX to launch NASA's IMAP mission to study magnetic barrier around solar system  India TodayView Full coverage on Google News
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NASA has awarded SpaceX a $109 million contract to launch the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, a NOAA space weather observatory, a robotic scout to map water on the moon, and two other ridealong payloads on a single Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in 2024.

The rideshare mission's primary passenger is IMAP, a probe heading for an observing post nearly a million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth in the direction of the sun at the L1 Lagrange point. IMAP's instruments will study the boundary between the heliosphere — where the sun's influence reigns — and the region between the stars known as interstellar space.

NASA considered launchers from SpaceX and United Launch Alliance for IMAP. The agency announced Friday that a Falcon 9 rocket will boost the IMAP spacecraft toward its distant operating orbit at L1, a gravitational balance point between the Earth and the sun.

IMAP's launch is scheduled for October 2024 from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to NASA. The space agency said the value of the contract with SpaceX is $109.4 million, including "the launch service and other mission related costs."

Fitted with 10 instruments, IMAP will map the outer reaches of the heliosphere, where particles blown outward by the solar wind run into winds from other stars. The boundary, located about 10…
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