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NASA to use SpaceX to Launch Interstellar Space Studying Mission

A contract worth $109 million has been awarded to SpaceX by NASA. The deal is for SpaceX to carry out the launch of an interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, an NOAA interstellar weather viewpoint, a scout (robot) to map moon water, and two accompanying payloads. The launch will be carried out on a solitary Falcon 9 Rocket and is scheduled for 2024 from Cape Canaveral. With the deal with SpaceX, NASA will see the IMAP mission’s price, which was stipulated at $564 million, jump to approximately $700 million.

The task’s main aim is to launch IMAP, a probe designated for a spotting station estimated to be almost 1 million miles from the Earth in the sun’s direction at L1 Lagrange point. The instruments in the I MAP will be responsible for the study of the borderline in the middle of the heliosphere and the area between the stars (interstellar space). 

Launchers from SpaceX as well as United Launch Alliance were considered for IMAP, and NASA announced that a Falcon 9 rocket would be used to enhance the IMAP spacecraft in its journey towards the distant operational orbit at L1, which is a gravitational stability point between Earth and the sun.

The IMAP, fitted with ten instruments, will be responsible for mapping the outer heliosphere, a region where particles that are propelled outward by the lunar storm ram into other star’s wind. The planets are shielded from cosmic rays, dangerous by the boundary located 10 billion miles from the sun. 

IMAP will be studying the essential processes that lead to the accelerating of elements all over the heliosphere while analyzing the pileup between the winds from the sun and matter from the stars. According to the developers of the mission and builders of the spaceship for NASA, some of the instruments fitted to the IMAP will be used to sample neutral particles that make way into the heliosphere from the interstellar space.  

A satellite that is being developed by NOAA for space weather monitoring will take the remaining space on the Falcon 9. The Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) will be tasked with tracking the solar winds and detecting any bad stellar bursts that might disrupt communication, navigation of satellites, and spaceflight operations, and electrical networks on our planet. 

A Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft by NASA and two small heliophysics missions will be launched with the IMAP on the Falcon 9 rocket. The other slot on the Falcon 9 could be taken up by a mission concept, SETH, and Solar cruiser.