NASA selected the Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Instrument Suite team lead by Dr. James L. Burch of Southwest Research Institute (SRI), San Antonio, to work with the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) MMS Project in mission formulation. The proposed cost of the instrument suite for MMS mission formulation was $140 million.
The MMS mission is scheduled for launch in 2013. The mission will employ four identically instrumented spacecraft to make coordinated high-resolution observations of fundamental plasma physical processes in the Earth's magnetosphere, the region in space closest to the planet.
"MMS results will directly contribute to understanding the sun and its effects on Earth, the solar system, and the space environment human explorers will experience," said NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate Ghassem Asrar. "Because the Earth's magnetosphere is the only accessible laboratory we have in which to study this fundamental astrophysical process, what we learn from MMS will also have broad application to our studies of the universe," he said.
NASA received two proposals in response to the MMS Announcement of Opportunity. They were evaluated on scientific and technical merit and feasibility. Both proposing teams were selected to conduct a six-month implementation-feasibility study focusing on cost, management, technical plans, educational outreach and small business involvement. Based on results of these studies, NASA selected the SRI team to continue instrument suite definition in support of mission formulation activities leading to an initial confirmation review for MMS early in 2006. For information about NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probe program on the Web, visit:
For more information on the Southwest Research Institute on the Web, visit:
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