In 2025, SpaceX will launch a mission to study the solar wind from space.

In April 2025, two NASA missions will travel to orbit concurrently, the agency stated.

Five spacecraft, including one for astrophysics and four for solar science, will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In a statement(opens in new tab) issued on Wednesday, NASA claimed that the “carpool” arrangement would reduce costs and complications (Aug. 3).

Ridesharing is an excellent approach to cut costs, according to Craig DeForest, principle investigator for PUNCH at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
PUNCH, or Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere, is an instrument designed to examine the solar wind, the steady stream of charged particles that emanates from the sun. The agency said that the four-satellite mission’s launch date was postponed by two years, from 2023, in order to address supply chain problems that arose during manufacture.

The mission will launch alongside SPHEREx, which stands for Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer. SPHEREx’s launch date was originally scheduled to occur in June 2024.
In addition to mapping the Milky Way galaxy’s 100 million stars and the 300 million galaxies in the universe, SPHEREx will be looking for evidence of water and organic (life-friendly) chemicals. Stellar nurseries, or the areas of gas and dust around nascent stars, contain these components.

In contrast, PUNCH will research solar ejections and the sun’s superheated corona as part of yet another agency endeavour to investigate the source of the solar wind. It will further the research of the Parker Solar Probe, which among other things routinely soars into the corona to study this crucial region up close.
The goal of studying the corona is to improve forecasts of space weather, or solar activity that may have an impact on people on Earth and surrounding spacecraft.

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