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MMS Observatory #1 and #2

Mechanical Engineers completed installation of the Solar Array panels for Observatory #4. There are eight panels per spacecraft, one enclosing each of the eight bays of the octagonal structure. When in orbit, the solar arrays will provide power to the Spacecraft during sunlight phases, while the battery (mounted inside the spacecraft deck) provides power during the 4 hour eclipses.

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising four identically instrumented spacecraft that will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration, and turbulence. These processes occur in all astrophysical plasma systems but can be studied in situ only in our solar system and most efficiently only in Earth’s magnetosphere, where they control the dynamics of the geospace environment and play an important role in the processes known as “space weather.”


03.24.14NASA Education Event Highlights Mission to Study Magnetic Reconnection
03.05.14NASA Invites Children, Families to Learn about Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
02.25.14NASA Embraces Challenge of Building 4 Spacecraft
11.20.13New Digital Resources Teach Students About NASA's MMS Mission
08.06.13NASA's MMS Stacked for Shock Tests
07.15.13The Heart of Space Weather Observed in Action
06.14.13NASA's MMS Achieves Major Mission Milestone
05.30.13NASA's MMS Team Assembles Final Observatory
02.06.13NASA Heliophysics Missions On Display at Aerospace@Annapolis
01.31.13NASA's First Attempt At Building Four Spacecraft for One Mission

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Observatory Integration

OBS3 image 2

Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of magnetic reconnection

MMS Spacecraft in formation

The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission will use four identical spacecraft, variably spaced in Earth orbit, to make three-dimensional measurements of magnetospheric boundary regions and examine the process of magnetic reconnection. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Mission Status

Agency Baseline Commitment: March 2015
Launch Readiness Date (LRD): October 2014
Phase C/D: Design & Development
Mission Highlights – As of March 20, 2014:

  • Observatory #1 is on the Rotation GSE in the Whitehouse cleanroom prepared for the Stacked Vibration Test. The Magnetometer Boom Alignment checks were completed this week.
  • Observatory #2 is being prepared for Stacked Vibration Testing and is having accelerometers installed this week.
  • Observatory #3 is in EMI/EMC testing
  • Observatory #4 is being transported back to GSFC from NRL today

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MMS Orbit Animation

This animation shows the orbits of Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising of four identically instrumented spacecraft that will study the Earth’s magnetosphere.

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