The interstellar boundary explorer (IBEX): Update at the end of phase

D. J. McComas, F. Allegrini, L. Bartolone, P. Bochsler, M. Bzowski, M. Collier, H. Fahr, H. Fichtner, P. Frisch, H. Funsten, Steve Fuselier, G. Gloeckler, M. Gruntman, V. Izmodenov, P. Knappenberger, M. Lee, S. Livi, D. Mitchell, E. Möbius, T. MooreS. Pope, D. Reisenfeld, E. Roelof, H. Runge, J. Scherrer, N. Schwadron, R. Tyler, M. Wieser, M. Witte, P. Wurz, G. Zank

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission will make the first global observations of the heliosphere's interaction with the interstellar medium. IBEX achieves these breakthrough observations by traveling outside of the Earth's magnetosphere in a highly elliptical orbit and taking global Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENA) images over energies from ∼10 eV to 6 keV. IBEX's high-apogee (∼50 RE) orbit enables heliospheric ENA measurements by providing viewing from far above the Earth's relatively bright magnetospheric ENA emissions. This high energy orbit is achieved from a Pegasus XL launch vehicle by adding the propulsion from an IBEX-supplied solid rocket motor and the spacecraft's hydrazine propulsion system. IBEX carries two very large-aperture, single-pixel ENA cameras that view perpendicular to the spacecraft's Sun-pointed spin axis. Each six months, the continuous spinning of the spacecraft and periodic re-pointing to maintain the sun-pointing spin axis naturally lead to global, all-sky images. Over the course of our NASA Phase B program, the IBEX team optimized the designs of all subsystems. In this paper we summarize several significant advances in both IBEX sensors, our expected signal to noise (and background), and our groundbreaking approach to achieve a very high-altitude orbit from a Pegasus launch vehicle for the first time. IBEX is in full scale development and on track for launch in June of 2008.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPHYSICS OF THE INNER HELIOSHEATH
Subtitle of host publicationVoyager Observations, Theory, and Future Prospects; 5th Annual IGPP International Astrophysics Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
Pages241-250
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)0735403554, 9780735403550
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006
EventPHYSICS OF THE INNER HELIOSHEATH: Voyager Observations, Theory, and Future Prospects; 5th Annual IGPP International Astrophysics Conference - Oahu, HI, United States
Duration: Mar 3 2006Mar 9 2006

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
Volume858
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616

Conference

ConferencePHYSICS OF THE INNER HELIOSHEATH: Voyager Observations, Theory, and Future Prospects; 5th Annual IGPP International Astrophysics Conference
CountryUnited States
CityOahu, HI
Period3/3/063/9/06

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Keywords

  • Energetic neutral atoms
  • Heliospheric ENAs
  • Inner heliosheath
  • Interstellar boundary explorer
  • Neutral atom imaging
  • Pegasus
  • Termination shock

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