For three decades, magnetospheric field and plasma measurements have been made by diverse instruments flown on spacecraft in many different orbits, widely separated in space and time, and under various solar and magnetospheric conditions. Scientists have used this information to piece together an intricate, yet incomplete view of the magnetosphere. A simultaneous global view, using various light wavelengths and energetic neutral atoms, could reveal exciting new data and help explain complex magnetospheric processes, thus providing us with a clear picture of this region of space. The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is responsible for defining the IMI mission which will study this region of space. NASA's Space Physics Division of the Office of Space Science placed the IMI third in its queue of Solar Terrestrial Probe missions for launch in the 1990's. A core instrument complement of three images (with the potential addition of one or more mission enhancing instruments) will fly in an elliptical, polar earth orbit with an apogee of 44,600 km and a perigee of 4,800 km. This paper will address the mission objectives, spacecraft design consideration, interim results of the MSFC concept definition study, and future plans.
SPACECRAFT DESIGN, TESTING AND PERFORMANCE