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Lockheed team passes critical design review for NASA's IRIS


PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIS (BNS): The Lockheed Martin team has passed a crucial milestone to construct NASA’s next Small Explorer Mission (SMEX) called the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS).

Experts from NASA and a number of independent reviewers conducted the review last week at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto.

“It is enormously satisfying to have passed this crucial milestone, and we look forward to construction and test of this important instrument,” said Dr. Alan Title, IRIS principal investigator.

“With IRIS we have a unique opportunity to provide significant missing pieces in our understanding of energy transport on the Sun. The complex processes and enormous contrasts of density, temperature and magnetic field within this interface region require instrument and modeling capabilities that are now finally within our reach,” he said.

Mission costs will be capped at $105 million, excluding the launch vehicle, Lockheed said.

The IRIS spacecraft will fly in a Sun-synchronous polar orbit for continuous solar observations on a two-year mission.

The NASA SMEX Program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for heliophysics and astrophysics missions using small to mid-sized spacecraft.

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NASA  Lockheed  SMEX  

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