Don Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1547


April 10, 1996

Jim Sahli/Fred Brown Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-8955) RELEASE: 96-68 INVESTIGATIONS SELECTED FOR INITIAL MIDEX MISSIONS NASA's Office of Space Science has selected the first two science missions for the new Medium-class Explorer (MIDEX) program. The two missions, selected for definition studies leading to confirmation and development, are the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) and the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE). The MAP mission will make a detailed investigation of the cosmic microwave background to help understand the large scale structure of the universe, such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies, which result in enormous walls and voids in the cosmos. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Charles L. Bennett of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. Information about the MAP mission is available on the World Wide Web at URL: The IMAGE mission will use three-dimensional imaging techniques to study the global response of the Earth's magnetosphere to variations in the solar wind, the steam of electrified particles flowing out from the Sun. The magnetosphere is the region surrounding the Earth controlled by its magnetic field and containing the Van Allen radiation belts and other energetic charged particles. The IMAGE Principal Investigator is Dr. James L. Burch, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX. "These selections are the beginning of a key component of our program of scientific exploration of space into the next century," said Dr. Wesley T. Huntress Jr., Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "We received many outstanding

proposals for the first two MIDEX missions, and it was an extremely difficult choice. It's exciting that such remarkable science can be accomplished within the MIDEX cost constraints." - more -2In addition to the two primary missions, two alternate missions were chosen to receive minimal funding for study in the event that the primary missions are not able to proceed to development. The alternate mission for MAP is The Hopkins Ultraviolet Background Explorer (HUBE). Dr. Richard Henry, Johns Hopkins University, is Principal Investigator. The alternate for IMAGE is the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI). Professor Robert Lin, University of California, Berkeley, is Principal Investigator. The MIDEX program is intended to provide research opportunities in the areas of astrophysics and space physics. Plans call for about one MIDEX mission to be launched per year, with development cost capped at no more than $70 million (FY 1994 dollars) each, excluding the costs of the launch vehicle and mission operations and data analysis. Mission operations are expected to be completed within two years. The space science investigations in the MIDEX program will use spacecraft launched on NASA's Med-Lite expendable launch vehicles, with launch anticipated to be late 1999 and 2000. The launch dates and order of launch will be determined in the near future, followed by confirmation for development of the first mission in about a year. The MIDEX missions are a new component of NASA's Explorer program, designed to complement the Small Explorer and the proposed University Explorer Programs, and are a follow-on to the more than 70 successful missions beginning with the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958. The Explorer program was restructured in 1994 to permit more frequent, low-cost launch opportunities, with no more than three years from the design and development phase to launch. The Explorer Project Office at the Goddard Space

Flight Center will manage MIDEX mission development for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. The MedLite Expendable Launch Vehicle program is managed by Goddard's Orbital Launch Project Office. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company will provide the Med-Lite launch vehicle. - end NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe pressrelease" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command GO NASA.