NASA selects SpaceX to launch the SPHEREx Astrophysics Mission
NASA has selected SpaceX to launch their "Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch is expected to launch as early as Mid-June, 2024 from the West coast.
NASA's SPHEREx mission will use optical and near-infrared methods to survey the sky every 6 months to look for water and organic molecules in distant Nebulae. This 2-year mission will help gather more detailed data of these distant areas to be used alongside NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope when they are launched.
This launch is utilizing SpaceX's workhouse, the Falcon 9. This 2 stage reusable rocket has launched over 100 times, supporting missions for NASA and the NRO. The Falcon 9 is powered by 9 Merlin engines being fueled by Rocket-Grade Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen providing over 1.7 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.