UPCOMING MISSIONS

Europa Clipper

Europa Clipper

Launch Date: October 10, 2024
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, FL
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon Heavy

NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will perform dozens of close flybys of Jupiter’s moon Europa, gathering detailed measurements to investigate whether the moon could have conditions suitable for life. Europa Clipper is not a life detection mission – its main science goal is to determine whether there are places below Europa’s surface that could support life.

The spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter, will make nearly 50 flybys of Europa at closest-approach altitudes as low as 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the surface, soaring over a different location during each flyby to scan nearly the entire moon.

Europa Clipper will follow a Mars-Earth Gravity Assist (MEGA) trajectory and will travel for five and half years and arrive at Jupiter in April 2030. Europa Clipper will be the largest spacecraft NASA has ever developed for a planetary mission. The spacecraft will be about 16 feet (5 meters) in height. With its arrays deployed, the spacecraft spans more than 100 feet (30.5 meters) and has a dry mass (no propellant in the tanks) of 7,145 pounds (3,241 kg).

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SPHEREx

Launch Date: February 27, 2025
Launch Site: Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9

The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission is planned to last two years and is targeted for launch in 2024. The mission will survey the sky in optical and near-infrared light which, though not visible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions. Astronomers will use the mission to gather data on more than 450 million+ galaxies, as well as more than 100 million stars in our own Milky Way.

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SPHEREx

IMAP

IMAP

Launch Date: April 29, 2025
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9

NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) will explore and map the very boundaries of our heliosphere – the electro-magnetic bubble surrounding the Sun and planets inflated by the solar wind – and study how it interacts with the local galactic neighborhood beyond. IMAP is a simple Sun-pointed spinner in orbit about the Sun-Earth L1 point, where gravitational forces between the Earth and Sun balance. As a modern-day celestial cartographer, IMAP will use its ten instruments to explore and chart the vast range of particles in interplanetary space and from beyond to investigate two of the most important overarching issues in Heliophysics – the energization of charged particles from the Sun, and the interaction of the solar wind with the nearby part of the interstellar medium that fills our galaxy.

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