Science

SpaceX to Launch Solar Wind Mission with Space Telescope in 2025

The agency announced that two NASA missions will go into orbit together in April 2025.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry five spacecraft, one for astrophysics and the other four for solar exploration. NASA said in a statement that the “cars” arrangement, as they call it, would save costs and complicate matters. (will open in a new tab) released on Wednesday (August 3).

“Ridesharing is a great way to save money,” Craig DeForest, PUNCH principal investigator at the Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement.

The double launch will take place from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

On the subject: NASA to launch new space telescope in 2023 to explore the universe

PUNCH, better known as the polarimeter for the unification of the corona and heliosphere, will study the solar wind, the constant stream of charged particles emanating from the sun. The agency added that the four-satellite mission has delayed the launch date by two years from 2023 to address supply chain issues during production.

The mission will join SPHEREx (short for Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer), which has also moved its launch date from its original goal to June 2024.

Related: Scientists just mapped 1 million new galaxies in 300 hours

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took a picture of a prolonged solar flare on June 13, 2022.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took a picture of a prolonged solar flare on June 13, 2022. (Image credit: NASA/SDO)

The mission of SPHEREx will not only be to map the 300 million galaxies in the universe and 100 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy, but also to look for signs of water and organic (life-friendly) molecules. These elements are present in stellar nurseries, or regions filled with gas and dust, surrounding young stars.

PUNCH, meanwhile, will study solar emissions along with the sun’s superheated corona in yet another attempt by the agency to study the origin of the solar wind. It will complement research by the Parker Solar Probe, which makes periodic flights into the corona to study this critical region up close, among other studies.

The purpose of studying the corona is to more accurately predict space weather or solar activity that could affect earthlings and satellites near our planet.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or Facebook.

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