Home >> News: June 8th, 2010 >> Story
Satnews Daily
June 8th, 2010

NASA's IRIS Will Blossom With Orbital Sciences Launch

NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, to launch the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph spacecraft known as IRIS. The spacecraft will fly in December 2012 aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The total cost of the IRIS launch services is approximately $40 million. This estimated cost includes the task ordered launch service for a Pegasus XL, plus additional services for launch site support, integrated services, and support unique to the mission.

IRIS will make detailed measurements of the flow of energy and plasma through the sun's atmosphere and heliosphere. The IRIS mission will open a window of discovery into a crucial gap in current solar observational capabilities. IRIS would use a solar telescope and spectrograph to reveal the dynamics of the sun’s chromosphere and transition region.

Ames will manage mission operations, flight operations and ground systems activities, and provide support for spacecraft systems engineering, flight dynamics, integration and testing. Ames’ Multi-Mission Operations Center facility will be used for mission control, and will manage education and public outreach activities.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the IRIS project. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for program management of the launch services.