NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sampex in orbit. Artist's impression of SAMPEX (Solar Anomalous Magnetospheric Particle Explorer), the first of the new Small Explorer (SMEX) satellites, in orbit. SAMPEX investigates parts of the Earth's magnetic field looking for solar energetic particles, cosmic rays and magnetospheric electrons. The SMEX programme is a NASA initiative to provide easy access to orbit for inexpensive missions. Each SMEX craft will weigh less than 180kg, allowing launch by Scout or Pegasus vehicles. The use of existing instrumentation means that each satellite takes only three years to design and build. SAMPEX was launched on 3 July 1992 using a Scout rocket.
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