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Johns Hopkins Selects Northrop Grumman Nav System for NASA’s Solar Probe Plus

By | August 14, 2014
      NASA Sun Solar

      Artist’s concept of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft as it approaches the Sun. Photo: NASA

      [Via Satellite 08-14-2014] Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman worth close to $3 million for a Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit (Scalable SIRU). The instrument will be used aboard NASA’s Solar Probe Plus satellite, which APL manages, for stabilization, pointing and attitude control data.

      Northrop Grumman is scheduled to deliver the Scalable SIRU in May 2016. The spacecraft’s launch is slated for 2018.

      Solar Probe Plus will embark on a seven-year mission to study the sun’s corona. The satellite will conduct 24 orbits, flying within 8.5 solar radii of the sun’s photosphere — a distance of approximately 3.7 million miles. Through this mission, NASA hopes to uncover the structure and dynamics of solar wind, and answer questions like why the sun’s outer atmosphere remains significantly hotter than the photosphere.