NASA announced on Sept. 29 that it had selected SpaceX to launch the Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites mission. The pair of small satellites will study space weather and how the sun’s energy affects Earth’s magnetosphere, the space agency said.
The TRACERS launch task order was awarded to SpaceX under the Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare services contract. The task’s value has not been divulged although the cost of the TRACERS mission itself does not exceed $115 million, SpaceNews reported Saturday.
The announcement did not specify a launch date, but according to NASA spokesperson Leejay Lockhart, TRACERS will be the primary payload of a rideshare mission going to sun-synchronous orbit no earlier than April 2025.
The satellite mission is funded by NASA and led by the University of Iowa, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and Millennium Space Systems in El Segundo, California, as partners. David Miles of the University of Iowa is the principal investigator and Millennium Space Systems is the spacecraft builder.