Donald Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1547) RELEASE: 98-227

December 23, 1998

NASA SELECTS INVESTIGATIONS FOR JAPANESE SOLAR-B MISSION NASA today announced selections of three investigations to be flown on Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) Solar-B mission planned for launch in 2004. The Solar-B program will be a multilateral international collaboration including Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The objective of Solar-B is to study the origin of the Sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, and the coupling between the fine magnetic structure at the Sun¹s surface, the photosphere, and the dynamic processes occurring in the corona. The 2004 launch date will enable the mission to make observations during the simpler, declining phase of the current activity cycle that is expected to reach its maximum in about the year 2000. Solar-B will also represent the second mission in the Solar-Terrestrial Probe series of the NASA Sun-Earth Connection theme. The Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission was first. As currently envisioned by ISAS, Solar-B will have three investigations involving a 19.7-inch (50-cm) optical telescope with sophisticated focal-plane instrumentation, an X-ray telescope for imaging the high-temperature corona, and an extreme-ultraviolet imaging spectrometer for diagnosing events observed. The main telescope will give quantitative measurements of magnetic fields in features as small as 70 miles in size, 10 times better than other space- or groundbased magnetic field measurements. ISAS will provide the major mission elements, including the main telescope,

spacecraft, and launch services, and will be responsible for overall mission science. The international partners will provide scientific investigations, which include the design, development and delivery of flight hardware, participation in mission operations, and data acquisition and analysis. The combined Japanese-U.K.-U.S. science teams will include a Japanese principal investigator responsible for ensuring that the scientific instruments interface properly with the spacecraft, and for experiment integration and mission operations. A U.S. principal investigator will lead the U.S. teams of co-investigators. The investigations selected by NASA were awarded a total of about $3.3 million for concept studies toward understanding interface requirements by early summer 1999. Development is scheduled to begin in January 2000. The investigations selected by NASA are: * Focal Plane Instrument Package (FPIP) for the optical telescope, consisting of a broadband filter imager, a narrowband filter imager, and a spectro-polarimeter. Development of the FPIP will be led by Dr. Alan Title of the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, CA. * Solar-B X-Ray Telescope (XRT) led by Dr. Leon Golub of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA. XRT will study the million-degree outer atmosphere of the Sun. XRT is an advanced version of a U.S.-Japanese grazing incidence instrument on the ISAS Solar-A mission, renamed Yohkoh after its launch in 1991. * EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) linking the visible disk of the Sun to the hot corona. Prof. Leonard Culhane of the Mullard Space Sciences Laboratory, University College of London, U.K., is the principal investigator for this instrument. NASA has selected an American co-investigator for funding in support of the EIS, Dr. George Doschek of the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) of the U.K., with the concurrence of ISAS, invited NASA to provide a U.S. science investigation with hardware responsibility for participation in its EIS instrument.

The Project Office for U.S. aspects of the Solar-B mission is at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. Information on the Solar-B mission from the Science Definition Team report can be found on the Internet at: Information on ISAS is on its home page at: Information on the astronomy program of PPARC is available at: - end -