Less than a week ago, a new mission developed at NASA for studying magnetic reconnection high in Earth's atmosphere managed to achieve an impressive milestone when it passed a Systems Integration Review (SIR), which means that construction can progress smoothly.
The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission passed the SIR on August 31. Work can now continue on the four identical spacecraft making up the constellation. Currently, the vehicles are scheduled to launch in late 2014, officials say.
Once in orbit, the spacecraft will use Earth's magnetosphere – the magnetic shield surrounding our planet, high above the surface – as a small-scale lab for studying a variety of phenomena that influence space weather.
The image above shows one of the MMS spacecraft under construction at the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, Maryland.