The IBEX flight segment

J. Scherrer, J. Carrico, J. Crock, W. Cross, A. Delossantos, A. Dunn, G. Dunn, M. Epperly, B. Fields, E. Fowler, T. Gaio, J. Gerhardus, W. Grossman, J. Hanley, B. Hautamaki, D. Hawes, W. Holemans, S. Kinaman, S. Kirn, C. LoefflerD. J. McComas, A. Osovets, T. Perry, M. Peterson, M. Phillips, S. Pope, G. Rahal, M. Tapley, R. Tyler, B. Ungar, E. Walter, S. Wesley, T. Wiegand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


IBEX provides the observations needed for detailed modeling and in-depth understanding of the interstellar interaction (McComas et al. in Physics of the Outer Heliosphere, Third Annual IGPP Conference, pp. 162-181, 2004; Space Sci. Rev., 2009a, this issue). From mission design to launch and acquisition, this goal drove all flight system development. This paper describes the management, design, testing and integration of IBEX's flight system, which successfully launched from Kwajalein Atoll on October 19, 2008. The payload is supported by a simple, Sun-pointing, spin-stabilized spacecraft with no deployables. The spacecraft bus consists of the following subsystems: attitude control, command and data handling, electrical power, hydrazine propulsion, RF, thermal, and structures. A novel 3-step orbit approach was employed to put IBEX in its highly elliptical, 8-day final orbit using a Solid Rocket Motor, which provided large delta-V after IBEX separated from the Pegasus launch vehicle; an adapter cone, which interfaced between the SRM and Pegasus; Motorized Lightbands, which performed separation from the Pegasus, ejection of the adapter cone, and separation of the spent SRM from the spacecraft; a ShockRing isolation system to lower expected launch loads; and the onboard Hydrazine Propulsion System. After orbit raising, IBEX transitioned from commissioning to nominal operations and science acquisition. At every phase of development, the Systems Engineering and Mission Assurance teams supervised the design, testing and integration of all IBEX flight elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-73
Number of pages39
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • IBEX
  • Launch
  • Spacecraft


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