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NASA announces launch services for pair of space weather satellites
Illustration of the TRACERS satellites in space. TRACERS will fly through the Earth's magnetic cusp to study magnetic interactions between Earth and the solar wind. Credit: NASA
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NASA announces launch services for pair of space weather satellites
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 01, 2023

NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, and its Falcon 9 rocket to provide the launch service for the agency's TRACERS (Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites) mission, a pair of small satellites that will study space weather and how the Sun's energy affects Earth's magnetic environment, or magnetosphere

TRACERS will be an important addition to NASA's heliophysics fleet and aims to answer long-standing questions critical to understanding the Sun-Earth system. The spinning satellites will study how solar wind, the continuous stream of ionized particles escaping the Sun and pouring out to space, interacts with the region around Earth dominated by our planet's magnetic field.

This interaction, or magnetic reconnection, is an intense transfer of energy that can happen when two magnetic fields meet, which could potentially impact operations with crew and sensitive satellites. TRACERS is led by the University of Iowa with partners at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, and Millennium Space Systems in El Segundo, California.

NASA's Launch Services Program, based out of the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in partnership with NASA's Heliophysics Small Explorers program, announces the launch service as part of the agency's VADR (Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare) launch services contract.

Related Links
TRACERS at NSAA
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

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