Studying the Edge of the Heliosphere

NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission, which APL is building in partnership with Principal Investigator David McComas of Princeton University, will explore our solar neighborhood, called the heliosphere — decoding the messages in particles from the Sun and beyond our cosmic shield.

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APL’s Role in the Mission

Princeton University professor David J. McComas leads the mission with an international team of 24 partner institutions. APL builds the spacecraft and one of IMAP’s 10 instruments, IMAP-Ultra. After launch, APL will operate the mission.

APL is performing flight hardware and software development, mission systems engineering, safety and mission assurance, and preparing for spacecraft integration and environmental testing, and mission and science operations post-launch.

Mission Facts

Launch: February 2025

Principal Investigator: David McComas, Princeton University

Project Manager: John Scherrer, Johns Hopkins APL

Project Scientist: Joe Westlake, Johns Hopkins APL


Rendering of the IMPA Spacecraft
An interactive, 3D rendering of the IMAP spacecraft. Click on the image and drag to see all angles of the spacecraft.

Mission Instruments

Advancing designs built to study energetic particles around Earth and Saturn, IMAP-Ultra will image energetic particles from the edge of the solar system, providing detailed visuals of what happens when the Sun’s solar wind meets interstellar space. IMAP-Ultra is one of 10 instruments that will be included on the spacecraft.

The IMAP-Ultra instrument shown during vibration testing at Johns Hopkins APL.
The IMAP-Ultra instrument shown during vibration testing at Johns Hopkins APL. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Princeton University

Learn More About Instrument(s) on this Mission