NASA has selected Ball Aerospace to develop a spacecraft that would help the agency study the atmosphere's outermost region that transitions into space as part of the agency's heliophysics science mission of opportunity.
The company said Tuesday it will build the Global Lyman-alpha Imager of the Dynamic Exosphere or GLIDE spacecraft that would be used to track the hydrogen-based ultraviolet light found in the region for the study.
Ball Aerospace will base GLIDE's design on the existing Ball Configurable Platform, a customizable spacecraft designed for flexibility.
The University of California, Berkeley will manage the implementation of the GLIDE mission and Lara Waldrop, a researcher from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will serve as the initiative's principal investigator.
Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace, said GLIDE heliophysics science mission will combine UC Berkeley's instrument and the company's flexible spacecraft.
The new project comes as Ball Aerospace continues to work on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Follow On – L1 mission that aims to gather data for solar storm forecasts.
GLIDE and SWFO will launch with each other on the same rocket.