NASA successfully launches mission to explore more about magnetic reconnection

NASA successfully launches mission to explore more about magnetic reconnection

NASA has successfully launched four spacecraft to gather more information about magnetic reconnection, which releases massive amount of energy. The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission was launched from Cape Canaveral using United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. NASA mission team will need a few months to successfully configure the four spacecraft in a pyramid formation.

The strong magnetic reconnection leads to release of massive amount of energy in the space. It also causes disruption in communications networks, electrical grids and GPS navigation on our planet.

During the two year mission, four Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft will study the magnetic fields between the Earth and the Sun in detail. The data will be used to construct first ever three dimensional view of the magnetosphere.

NASA statement informed that four octagonal disc-shaped spacecraft will fly in loose formation above the planet. They will fly in a pyramid formation. During the first phase the orbit will be 1,600 miles above the surface of our planet. After few months, the spacecraft will fly at 43,000 miles above Earth.

NASA informed that each MMS observatory can record magnetic interactions 100 times faster than previous missions. The observatories have been developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Each spacecraft weighs about 3,000 pounds fully fueled and has been fitted with 25 sensors.

Omar Baez, NASA launch director for MMS, said, "It was a picture-perfect launch and the flight went well and everyone's cheering. You can't ask for anything more. This was a really hard mission to put together and the team really made it look easy, but it's not."

Craig Tooley, program manager for MMS, said, "Each of these spacecraft will have a footprint about the size of a football field. It's best to think of this mission as a flying laboratory, not really a remote sensing spacecraft, essentially scientists flying these spacecraft through a natural laboratory."

Launch Video: NASA