The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has received the go-ahead to start building NASA's Solar Probe Plus spacecraft following a critical design review of its full mission plan by an independent agency panel.
The plan includes how the SPP team will perform construction and testing of the spacecraft tasked to study the outer atmosphere of the sun, JPL said Wednesday.
“The completion of CDR is a testament to the focused, diligent work of APL, NASA, the instrument teams and our industry partners,“ said APL's Andy Driesman, Solar Probe Plus project manager.
“We're excited to continue working on a difficult mission that's been more than 50 years in the making, one that is now achievable thanks to advances in technology, materials and design.“
The probe will be outfitted with four instruments, including a wide-field telescope that can take three-dimensional images of the sun's corona and a solar wind particle analyzer.
SPP is set to launch aboard a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket in early August 2018.